UK firm eyes 4 sites for ocean energy projects

by Myrna Velasco – June 8, 2016

from Manila Bulletin

Bell Pirie, a United Kingdom(UK)-based firm pursuing ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) projects, has been looking at four sites for its pioneering ventures in the country.

The initial investment for 10-megawatt capacity power project that is targeted in Zambales is $186 million.

 


According to Bell Pirie Power Corporation President Lourdesiree Latimer, the other sites being considered are Pangasinan and another one in Zambales for Luzon grid. There is also another prospect in Mindanao.

For the pioneer Zambales venture, Latimer noted that they have 1,200 hectare-site, qualifying though that “we don’t need all those hectares, we just need a sweet spot.”

But before the planned OTEC and marine energy investments in the country can move forward, investors would be needing approval of the proposed P17.65 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) feed-in-tariff set for a representative project on the technology.

According to Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Director Debora Anastacia Layugan, they will be deciding on the petition for OTEC feed-in-tariff within the year – whether to grant or deny the application filed by the National Renewable Energy Board.

The ERC deferred ruling on the FIT for ocean-based energy development, Layugan said, because “we do not have that much data to bank on” to come up then with a verdict.

At least seven companies from the UK, including Bell Pirie, are on investment mission in the country this week to explore prospective energy investments, primarily on renewable energy.

The other potential investors are Aquatera, Carbon Trust,  IT Power, Ocean Tera, Open Hydro and Sgurr Energy – which did specific presentations on the various facets of development projects that they have been exploring in the Philippine energy sector.

The UK companies are earnestly looking forward to cornering a pie in the $25 billion worth of investment prospects that the Philippine energy sector offers.