The Philippine Board of Investments recently greenlit the application of Isabela La Suerte Rice Mill Corporation as a renewable energy developer of biomass energy resources under the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 which is among the special laws listed in the current Investment Priorities Plan (IPP). It has already been endorsed by the Department of Energy (DOE) and granted clearance by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The Php410 million project involves the development, construction and operation of a 5 megawatt (MW) Biomass Power Plant in between Barangays San Pedro and San Pablo in Aurora, Isabela. The site is suitable of the construction and operation of a biomass power plant since the area has a rich supply of feed stock that will be used as fuel for the plant

Commercial operations started in April 2017 with 39 personnel. The firm is expected to generate electrical power from combustion (steam-turbine-generator) using rice husk as fuel. With a boiler efficiency of around 79 percent at full load, around six tons per hour of rice husk is required for the plant and it is expected to produce 35,640,000 kilowatt hours (KWH) which will be delivered to the Luzon grid.

“This project affirms Isabela not only as one of the country’s largest rice producers but also one of the largest provincial hubs for renewable energy. The province is in a position to take advantage of all those rice husks left behind after milling and powering up the province and securing the lifeline of industries within the area,” Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo said.

Renewable energy plants (geothermal, hydro, wind, biomass and solar) accounted for the lion’s share in the country’s total installed capacity with 34.3 percent as of June 2016, according to the DOE. The Renewable Energy Act aims to accelerate 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. With the government at the forefront in promoting and adopting sustainable energy development strategies, it is expected to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels in the long-term and minimize its exposure to price fluctuations in the international markets. The advantages of using renewable energy cover all sectors of the country’s economy.