SMC mulls $3.6-B tidal energy facility

By Myrna M. Velasco – April 2, 2017, 10:01 PM

from Manila Bulletin

The energy investment unit of diversifying conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC) sets far-reaching plan for $3.6 billion worth of capital outlay on its planned tidal power facility that could yield up to 1,200 megawatts capacity.

SMC President Ramon S. Ang told reporters in a press briefing that the investment per megawatt will be $3 million – the prevailing rule-of-thumb for the targeted technology.

Depending on the final outcome of the next feasibility study (FS) on the financial facets of the project, Ang noted that their next steps would be to file necessary applications with the Board of Investments (BOI) for incentives as well as with the Department of Energy (DOE) for renewable energy service contract (RESC) and project approval.

At this point though, Ang wants the media to still be “mystified” as to the details of the project, including the targeted site and the technology application that they would opt for once it reaches installation phase.

“We have been studying this for a long time already and we have engaged various foreign consultants to do the feasibility study,” he said.

Ang added that the FS on the technical parameters of the project was already completed, but consultant has yet to be tapped for the financial study that could eventually cement the venture’s viability.

“It already passed technical feasibility study, next to that, we will hire firms to do the financial study. If that is bankable, then we’ll proceed with the project,” he stressed.

If they can get to the targeted scale or capacity on a preferred single site, he noted that they would not be needing feed-in-tariff (FIT) subsidy from the government.

Instead, he emphasized that the goal is to bring the proposed facility’s generation cost to a relatively bargain-base level – that when feasible, it could be as low as R2.50 per kilowatt-hour.

The development timeline, Ang said, could take five years from the period that the project takes off from the drawing board.

While still at the planning and FS completion stages, Ang indicated that they are not contemplating on tapping a partner yet. All development details though, on the SMC president’s preference, must still be kept closer to his chest.

There is no ocean or tidal power project that had advanced to construction phases so far in the Philippines.

The proposed developments pending at the energy department are of smaller scale of 10 to 20 megawatts or even less – and mainly seeking for incentives via the FIT system for tidal, ocean thermal energy conversion or wave-based technologies.