First Gen to build 3 hydro projects

by Lenie LecturaMay 16, 2016

from Business Mirror

FIRST Gen Corp. is setting aside millions of dollars to build three run-of-river hydropower projects in the next few years.

“First Gen and its subsidiaries will also continue to develop other renewable-energy projects, such as Bubunawan, Puyo and Tagoloan for run-of-river hydro, and a few wind and solar projects covered by energy-service contracts under feasibility study,” First Gen Chairman Frederico Lopez said.

The Bubunawan and Tagoloan prospects are located in Bukidnon province, while Puyo is in Augusan del Norte.  The planned capacity for Bubunawan is 23 megawatts (MW), 20 MW for Tagoloan and 30 MW for Puyo.

“Our aim is to continue boosting our country’s capacity of plants from clean- energy sources wherever they’re available to bring the Philippines closer to achieving its COP21 commitment of a 70-percent reduction in carbon emissions from business-as-usual,” Lopez said.

First Gen CFO Emmanuel Singson said the project cost for the Bubunawan project is between $180 million and $190 million, “but that would come in the next two to three years.”

“Bubunawan is expected to come into commercial operations sometime in 2021,” Singson said.

Meanwhile, the budget for Puyo hydro project may reach $130 million to $140 million and “about the same for Tagoloan.”

“The capex [capital expenditure] for big hydro projects is not coming this year, but in 2017, 2018 and 2019,” Singson added.

Through First Gen Hydro Corp. (FGHC), the company owns and operates the 132-MW Pantabangan-Masiway hydroelectric-power plant complex in Nueva Ecija.

Another First Gen subsidiary, FG Bukidnon Power Corp., owns and operates the 1.6-MW Agusan minihydro project. Toward the end of 2015, the Masiwat facility went back to operations after completing its rehab program, which included the replacement of the facility’s circuit breaker and transformer.

“Formal take-over of the refurbished Masiway hydro facility is expected to take place in the first half of 2016, after the submission of as-built drawings and the completion of punch list items,” First Gen President Francis Giles Puno said.

The Agusan facility experienced a decrease in plant output in 2015 due to lower rate inflow brought on by El Niño.