Roxas delays biomass project

by Jenniffer B. Austria and Alena Mae S. Flores –  February 19, 2017 at 08:40 pm

from Manila Standard Today

Roxas Holdings Inc. and Global Business Power Corp. have temporarily shelved their planned 40-megawatt, co-generation power plant in Negros Occidental province due to the proliferation of solar projects in the province.

Roxas Holdings president and chief executive Hubert Tubio said during the annual stockholders’ meeting the company’s  joint venture biomass joint venture with Global Business hit a snag after the activation of several solar power projects.

“The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines expects the completion of the power transmission highway in two to three years. Hopefully this will also be just in time for us to make our co-gen project operational,” Tubio said.

The new timetable for the proposed biomass power plant will make the facility operational by 2020, instead of the  original schedule of 2018.

Roxas Holdings, the country’s largest integrated sugar business, and Global Business, a leading power producer in the Visayas, in 2014 agreed to build a 40-megawatt cogeneration facility in La Carlota City, Negros Occidental.

The joint venture partners in 2015 commissioned Pöyry Energy Inc., a global Finnish consulting and engineering company, for the front-end engineering design of the planned power plant.

The co-gen plant aims to meet the energy requirements of Roxas Holdings’ sugar mill and sell the excess power to the grid at the same time.

Among the solar power plants operating in Negros island are San Carlos Sun Power Inc.’s  59 MW in San Carlos City, Helios Solar Energy’s 132.5-MW farm in Cadiz City, Citicor Power’s 25-MW project in Silay City, Negros Island Solar Power’s 48-MW and 32-MW farms in Manapla and La Carlota, respectively, and San Carlos Solar Energy’s 45-MW facility, also in San Carlos City.

Meanwhile, Roxas Holdings expressed concerns over the planned tax on sugar and the increasing use of imported high fructose corn syrup by the beverage industry that could affect the viability of the domestic sugar industry.

Tubio said the increase in tax on sugar and sugar-based products would have some impact on the company’s business as it could affect demand and consumption.

The increase use of HFCS by beverage firms will also displace demand for locally produced cane sugar and threaten the sugar cane industry.

“It should therefore be fairly regulated and treated by our government in the same manger as imported sugar. Directly at stake is the livelihood of more than 700,000 marginal farmers and farm workers, which translated 9will) affect about 3.5 million Filipinos,” Tubio said.

The country’s power generation capacity mix remains driven by coal-fired power plants in 2016, but renewable energy is fast catching up, the Energy Department’s latest report showed.

It said coal’s share in the capacity mix  as of December 31, 2016 was at 36.5 percent for a total dependable capacity of 4,970 megawatts.

Coal is followed by renewable energy composed of geothermal, hydro, wind, biomass and solar at 27.1 percent dependable capacity accounting for 3,684 MW.

Hydro accounted for the bulk of 17.1 percent of dependable capacity, followed by geothermal at 5.7 percent, wind at 2.2 percent, solar at 1.6 percent and biomass at 0.5 percent.

Natural gas power plants accounted for 24.2 percent of dependable capacity or 3,291 MW while oil-based power plants contributed 12.2 percent of dependable capacity at 1,655 MW.