Alsons seeks partners for hydro power: Japan firm in early negotiation stage

by Riza T. Olchondra, 27 April 2015
from Philippine Daily Inquirer

MINDANAO-FOCUSED Alsons Consolidated Resources Inc. (ACR) is in talks with Japan’s Toyota Tsusho and other potential partners on a $45 million renewable energy (RE) project while it prepares for an upcoming lineup of up to $280 million in RE projects.

ACR is set to undertake the 15- to 16-megawatt (MW) Siguil hydroelectric power project in Maasim River in Sarangani province. It would entail an investment of $40 million to $45 million.

The company is also seeking permits from the Department of Energy (DOE) for a total of 70MW in additional hydropower projects.

The investment rule of thumb in hydropower is $2 million to $4 million per 1MW, which brings additional investment in RE at a range of $140 million to $280 million.

“We are getting ready for the Siguil hydro power project. The feasibility study came back with very encouraging results,” ACR VP Joseph C. Nocos told reporters.

ACR is already in talks with various potential partners, including Toyota Tsusho, on Siguil. But Alsons is still open to exploring opportunities with partners, Nocos said.

The project may already have an offtaker. South Cotabato Electric Cooperative 2 (Socoteco2), which is the power distributor in the host franchise area, wants a supply contract on Siguil’s output.

“Of course we have the option to avail the FIT supplying it to the entire grid, but one of the things that Socoteco2 negotiated in our contract is the stipulation that they have the right of first refusal over the capacity,” Nocos said.

This is encouraging for ACR since it has a pipeline of hydro projects, Nocos said.

ACR is investing mainly in hydroelectric power investments as the RE component of its energy generation portfolio.

Nocos said the group has 94MW of capacity in existing hydropower projects.

While other companies are venturing into solar and wind power, as well as biomass and even ocean wave power, Nocos said ACR believes hydro is most affordable, less challenging, and has proven technology.

“The resource is there. On solar, it is not as simple as putting up panels. We don’t have access to that kind of expertise,” he said.

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