Phinma to expand Guimaras wind farm

SAN LORENZO, Guimaras – Listed power generation firm Phinma Energy plans to expand its 54 megawatts (MW) wind farm here but the timeline will depend on the government’s decision on giving a third round of feed-in-tariff (FIT) –guaranteed payment per kilowatt hour-for wind energy.

FIT was introduced by the government to attract more investments in renewable energy. Aside from priority dispatch in the spot market, FIT-eligible wind plants are assured of fixed rates – P8.53 per kilowatt hour (kWh) for the first batch and P7.40 per kWh for the second batch.

“If a government ruling is released, it is possible that we can have another wind project in the next five years,” Francisco Viray, Phinma Energy president and chief executive officer, told reporters during a briefing here.

Danilo Panes, Trans-Asia Renewable Energy Corp. (TAREC) vice president, said the expansion will most likely be another 40 MW project.

TAREC is the subsidiary of Phinma Energy that handles its wind power facility.

“If you will use 2 MW each, the expansion would most likely be composed of 20 turbines but if we use bigger capacity, maybe 16. It will be in Sibunag, 15 kilometers from San Lorenzo,” Panessaid.

He added the expansion project may cost lower than the 54 MW plant since fewer wind turbines will be needed.

The company said an average of $3 million is needed to finance the construction of each wind turbine.

“The price of wind turbine did not change significantly… We imported the turbines from Europe and we are planning to do it again for the expansion. We also hope that there would be a technology transfer here in the Philippines to lower the price,” Panes explained.

“So far, prices of wind turbines are decreasing by only about three to five percent. It is not dropping at the same rate of solar panels,” he added.

TAREC can also expand in Valencia but this will take more time to develop than Sibunag.

Viray also said the company plans to double its present capacity in the next 10 years but declined to specify the types of power plants it will push. He noted it will depend on the government’s planned energy mix.

“We have a lot of excess supply coming and we have to consider that so we are planning it for the next 10 years… Competition (will drive the company’s energy mix) so you want baseload. Diesel is not competitive so we have to choose coal,” Viray said.

Phinma Energy’s net income jumped 43 percent to P542 million in the first half of the year from P377 million a year agodue to better performance of its power plants. Revenues from the sale of electricity for the periodrose 11 percent to P7.1 billion.

Besides the wind power plant, the company is involved in bunker-fired diesel generator plants such as the 54 MW Trans-Asia Power Generation Corp., 21 MW CIP II Power Corp., 116 MW One Subic Power Generation Corp. and the 3.4 MW Guimaras Power Plant.

Phinma Energy also partnered with Ayala-led AC Energy Holdings Inc. for the 270 MW circulating fluidized bed coal plant in Calaca, Batangas as well as a 20 MW geothermal project with Petrogreen Energy Corp. and PNOC Renewables Corp.

The said geothermal project is undergoing expansion for additional 12 MW that is expected to come online next year.

By Jed Macapagal, Source: Malaya Business Insight