The Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) recently approved the application of Satrap Power Corporation as Renewable Energy Developer of Biomass Energy Resources under the Special Laws List (Renewable Energy Act of 2008) of the current Investment Priorities Plan (IPP). 

The Php1.16 Billion project involves the development, construction and operation of a 10-Megawatt (MW) power plant in Barangay Nagpanaoan, Santa, Ilocos Sur.

Satrap will utilize municipal solid wastes and agricultural wastes to generate electricity at a rated capacity of 3MW and 7MW, respectively. It has already executed a feedstock supply agreement with the various local government units (LGUs) in the province.  The company expects to get 86 tons of municipal solid wastes and 200 tons of agricultural wastes from LGUs. Commercial operations are scheduled to be in place by April 2019 with 30 personnel manning the plant.

The power generation process comprises wastes transported to the tipping area where these are sorted and segregated. Leftovers undergo drying and shredding to produce pellets. The pellets are then fed to gasifier/boiler to produce syngas or steam to power the gas turbine/steam turbine blades. All of the generated electricity are expected to be sold to the National Grid in accordance with the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) system of the RE Act.  The Ilocos Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ISECO) is also being considered as a market.

“This project boosts the Ilocos region as a hub for renewable power and complements the wind power plants already in the region. The addition of biomass projects will spur further development of renewable energy sources in the area as we continue our march towards reducing our dependence on fossil fuels over time,” Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo said.

Figures from the Department of Energy (DOE) as of June 2016 showed that the country has a total installed power capacity of 20,055 MW with a dependable capacity of 17,925 MW. Available capacity is 13,877 MW.  Peak demand during the period reached 13,197 MW. Newly installed operational capacity was 1,271 MW. Committed projects expected to be operational by end of 2016 topped 6,179 MW with indicative capacities of up to 13,853 MW.

RE constituted the largest share of the total installed power capacity in the country with 34.3 percent share, closely followed by coal with 33.2 percent and natural gas (14.3 percent). Hydro was the biggest in the RE with 18 percent share of the aggregate capacity, followed by Geothermal (9.56 percent), Solar (3.4 percent), Wind (2.1 percent) and Biomass (1.2 percent).

The Renewable Energy Act of 2008 otherwise known as Republic Act No. 951 was enacted with the aim of accelerating the exploration and development of renewable energy resources such as biomass, solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and ocean energy sources, including hybrid systems, to achieve energy self-reliance, through the adoption of sustainable energy development strategies to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels and  minimize the country’s exposure to price fluctuations in the international markets, the effects of which spiral down to almost all sectors of the economy.

The law aims to increase the utilization of renewable energy by institutionalizing the development of national and local capabilities in the use of renewable energy systems, and promoting its efficient and cost-effective commercial application by providing fiscal and non-fiscal incentives.

The government also continues to encourage the development and utilization of renewable energy resources as tools to effectively prevent or reduce harmful emissions and balance the goals of economic growth and development with the protection of health and the environment while establishing the necessary infrastructure and mechanism to carry out the mandates specified in the Act and in line with other existing laws.