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Myrna Velasco

Senate flags DOE’s ‘weak, sketchy energy plan’

The Senate is willing to increase the budget allocation of the Department of Energy (DOE) only if it would step up in attracting the ‘real and professional talents’ that can help it reinforce its delivery of service, including pursuing improvements in what is currently perceived as “weak and still sketchy energy plan.” According to Senate Committee on Energy Chairman Sherwin T. Gatchalian, the current version of the energy plan is still decrepit and too wanting of details – as to what the sector really wants to pursue in the short-term to medium and long-term timeframes. Gatchalian has called for a detailed and dependable planning that could stretch until year 2050, parallel to what other power markets in the world have been undertaking. “One area that we will be helping them out is to …

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Aboitiz wants hydro, geothermal projects under PPP scheme

Aboitiz Power Corporation is recommending investment landscape changes for hydro and geothermal projects so these can be placed under public-private partnership (PPP) scheme. The company said the government must come in as private sector ally to move projects forward, especially in cornering consents and permits of relevant stakeholders, including host communities. Aboitiz Power President and Chief Operating Officer Antonio R. Moraza said this is particularly significant for hydropower and geothermal developments – given the extent of project approval processes that they would need before they can even proceed to development or construction phases of power facilities. “Geothermal and impounding hydro should be under PPP…it’s too hard for private individuals to assemble 30, 40 or 50 communities to seek consent, government should really be involved there,” he said. For instance, it has been taking too …

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First Gen to bid for 300MW mid-merit needs of Meralco

First Gen Corporation will be joining the competitive selection process (CSP) set out by Manila Electric Company (Meralco) for up to 300 megawatts of its mid-merit power supply needs. In a power system, a mid-merit plant or capacity refers to an asset which can adjust its power output based on the fluctuation in demand at any given period of the day. First Gen President and Chief Operating Officer Francis Giles B. Puno said they are keen to win the supply contract auction for capacity coming from their 414-megawatt San Gabriel gas-fired power plant in Batangas. For mid-merit capacity, it is seen that gas-fed power plants would be ideal because their output could be cycled at any uptrend or sudden drop in system demand. “They (Meralco) came out with a CSP – so we will …

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Pump prices up this week

Motorists are up for another bit of financial distress this week as prices of socially sensitive diesel products will be up by P0.60 per liter; and gasoline by P0.45 per liter. In pricing advisories sent to the media, oil companies also noted that the price of kerosene will increase by P0.55 per liter. As of press time, the oil companies that already notified on their pump price hikes include Eastern Petroleum, PTT Philippines, Seaoil and Flying V; while the other industry players are expected to follow. The pricing adjustments, as had been the routine, will be effective either 12:01 a.m. or 6 a.m. today. This round of price upswing followed another price rally in the world market, which became a successive trend since the decision of some members of the Organization of the Petroleum …

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Meralco-Aboitiz tap Korean firm for $1.2-billion Subic project

The joint venture of the Manila Electric Company’s (Meralco) power generation arm and the Aboitiz Group, together with their Taiwanese partner, is scheduling the award of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to South Korean firm Doosan Group for the 600-megawatt Redondo Peninsula Energy (RP Energy) coal-fired power project at the Subic freeport zone. A highly placed source confirmed that final documentation processes are now ongoing and that the award of the turnkey contract “will happen very soon.” The proposed facility, as initially crunched, will entail investments of roughly $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion – if the two phases at 300MW capacity each will be fully implemented. Aboitiz Power Corporation President Antonio R. Moraza first hinted to reporters that the chosen EPC contractor is a Korean firm and that they are …

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Scrapping of PNOC’s RC unit pushed

Senate Committee on Energy Chairman Sherwin T. Gatchalian is proposing that the Philippine National Oil Company-Renewables Corporation (PNOC-RC) be scrapped rather than continually allow the state to waste money on its continued existence. Gatchalian said the Department of Energy (DOE) and the executives of PNOC-RC were not able to justify the mandate of that PNOC subsidiary, thus, he deemed it more prudent to shelve it. “I was questioning the intention of PNOC-RC to go into renewables, because without them, the renewable energy sector is already flourishing. So I don’t see any rationale…I see it as another layer of inefficiency,” Gatchalian added. In a lunch meeting with energy reporters, he intimidated that the energy officials’ response had been anchored on the need to electrify the missionary areas – or the off-grid and far-flung jurisdictions. But …

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FGen sets $80-M capex for hydro, LNG projects

First Gen Corporation will earmark $80-million capital expenditures (capex) next year for a hydropower project and site preparation works for its proposed onshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal. Of the amount, $50 million will initially bankroll its planned 32-megawatt Bubunawan hydropower project in Bukidnon; while $30 million will for the pre-construction activities at its LNG site. First Gen President Francis Giles B. Puno said the allotment for the hydro project will just be for the initial 3 years as its total cost actually hovers at $150 million. So far, the Bubunawan project will be the first one taking off from blueprint, out of the three developments that the company had set for implementation. The two others would be the 30MW run-of-river Puyo hydropower project in Agusan del Norte; and the 40.5MW Tagoloan facility …

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FGen extends selection deadline for LNG project

Lopez-held First Gen Corporation is extending the timeframe on its “partner selection process” for its planned $1-billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal which it targets to set on stream as an option to post-Malampaya’s productive years. First Gen President Francis Giles Puno told reporters that “right now, what we’re doing is spending time with them (prospective partners) to see what the fit is – what chemistry we will have because it’s a marriage.” He said there are eight groups in their shortlist, which they see slugging it out through the end of their selection timeline – which could be around first half of next year. First Gen could offer up to 40-percent stake to targeted co-venturers. Their enduring suitors have been a good mix of Japanese and European firms – each advancing their …

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EDC inks supply deals with 3 electric coops

Lopez-led Energy Development Corporation (EDC) has cemented new power supply agreements (PSAs) with three electric cooperatives in Northern Luzon, thus, widening the base of its bilaterally-committed capacity by additional 53 megawatts. The counterparties in the EDC power supply pacts have been Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (INEC); Mountain Province Electric Cooperative (MOPRECO); and Kalinga-Apayao Electric Cooperative (KAELCO). The deals call for the supply of aggregate 53MW to the electric cooperatives from December 26, 2016 to December 25, 2018. According to EDC President and Chief Operating Officer Richard B. Tantoco, the PSAs would be able to “support the region’s goal of economic growth and competitiveness.” EDC is operating the 150MW Burgos wind power facility in Ilocos Norte with an integrated solar power farm. The Lopez firm takes pride in providing pure renewable energy to …

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Cusi to work on energy policies

Following the confirmation of Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi by the Commission on Appointments (CA), the Department of Energy (DOE) is expected to finally start pursuing serious and realistic policy works for the energy sector. The Department of Energy (DOE) apprised media about Cusi’s confirmation via the sponsorship of Senator Franklin Drilon that also gained the support of several other senators. But Cusi’s biggest challenge is elevating the status of his inferior-perceived energy leadership team, who are mostly coming from non-energy backgrounds. Fundamentally, that is a sweeping assumption that they have to prove otherwise, and may only happen so if they stop displaying incompetence in media and the public. At this point, it is understandable that policy and planning compass still swing in unclear directions, but if that continues, it will be a …

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