The Board of Investments (BOI) recently approved four (4) renewable energy projects totaling Php35.4 billion in line with the administration’s efforts to address the power requirements of its ongoing infrastructure buildup program until 2022. These projects qualified for incentives under the Renewable Energy Act No. 9513 which is covered under the Special Laws List of the 2017 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP).

VS GRIPAL POWER CORP. got the nod for its Php777 million biomass power plant in Nueva Ecija. CURRIMAO SOLAR ENERGY CORP. was given the go-signal to put up the Php4.74 billion Talisay wind power project in Camarines Norte, the Php14.6 billion Talim wind power project in Rizal as well as the Php15.3 billion Calatagan wind project in Batangas.

“Since the ongoing infrastructure program involves construction and modernization of airports, building of more roads, railroads and transport networks all over the country, demand for power continues to go up. In the long run, additional power is also needed to usher the growth of other industries as they undergo their own expansion and modernization,” Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo said.

The VS Gripal project involves the development, construction and operation of a 6 megawatt (MW) biomass power plant in San Jose City, Nueva Ecija. The plant will generate electricity using rice husk as feedstock. The generated electricity will then be expected to be traded at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) at competitive prices. Commercial operation is scheduled to start on December 2019 with 25 personnel manning the facility.

Currimao’s 50.4 MW Talisay Wind Power Project is being developed in a 162 hectare-area in the municipalities of Labo, Vinzons and Talisay in the province of Camarines Norte. The site will have 14 Wind turbines, each with a capacity of 3.6 MW. The Talim and Calatagan Wind Power projects have a capacity of 151.2 MW each. Both projects are also being developed in a 162 hectare-area in different locations with Talim situated between the Binangonan and Cardona towns of Rizal and Calatagan comprising the Calatagan and Nasugbu towns of Batangas. Both sites will have 42 wind turbines each and each of those turbines also comes with a capacity of 3.6 MW. Talisay and Calatagan are expected to be operational by September 2020 with 10 and 23 personnel, in charge of the sites, respectively. The Talim project is on course to be operational by September 2019 with 23 personnel on board.

Generation of wind power involves wind turbines converting energy from wind to Direct Current (DC) power. The inverter then converts DC power to Alternating Current (AC) power at low voltage level. The transformer steps up low voltage level to the high voltage grid level. The Ring Main Unit protects the step-up transformer from short circuit faults and combination of AC power to the high voltage switchgear. The high voltage switchgear utilities disconnect the system between facility and the grid. Initially, the project will sell energy through WESM. Currimao is currently marketing for probable Power Purchase Agreement (PSA) with other distribution utilities.

Renewable energy plants (geothermal, hydro, wind, biomass and solar) accounted for 7,038 MW of installed capacity in the country as of June 2017, about a third of the national capacity of 21,621 MW, according to data published by the Department of Energy (DOE). Total capacity of wind projects to date is 427 MW while biomass has 224 MW. In line with the country’s growth trajectory, the DOE projects the country needs 43,765 additional MW by 2040 to sustain the power demands of the country in line with the current growth trajectory.