Filipino-French joint venture optimistic on San Bernandino Strait tidal project
San Bernardino Ocean Power Corp., a joint venture between local company H&WB Asia Pacific (Pte. Ltd.) Corp. and Sabella SAS of France, expressed optimism that it will launch the country’s first tidal project in San Bernardino Strait following the successful public consultation in October.
SBOPC is a special purpose company that explores and develops the Philippines’ vast ocean energy resource, deploying tidal in-stream energy conversion, or the Tisec technology of SAS.
The Energy Department’s Renewable Energy Management Bureau held a successful public consultation with SBOPC and PNOC Renewable Energy Corp. on Oct, 24 in Capul island, Northern Samar.
“Tisec could be the technology of choice in ocean renewable energy development in the Philippines,” said Antonio Ver, president of H&WB, the joint venture partner of Sabella in SBOPC, which was received three ocean power service contracts on Oct, 30, 2013.
The pioneering and transformative project is envisioned to provide reliable and clean power supply to the island of Capul, which is off-grid under the Small islands Power Utility Group of state-run National Power Corp. The remote island solely relies on diesel generators for electricity.
Northern Samar Electric Cooperative will buy the capacity of the initial 1.5-megawatt power plant, harnessing the marine current resource in San Bernardino Strait, which separates the islands of Luzon and Samar.
Sabella Société par Actions Simplifiée (Sabella) of France is deploying a resilient marine turbine that will use tidal in-stream energy conversion technology, an ocean power technology mostly adaptable in Philippine waters.
The capacity of the tidal farm is scalable to electrify Calintaan and Matnog in Sorsogon that have a demand of up to 20 MW for the next three years.
The project is envisioned to benefit the nearby municipalities of San Antonio and the major towns of the provinces of Sorsogon and Northern Samar within SBOPC’s concession areas.
San Bernardino Strait’s tidal currents have a 500-MW potential.
The project will be implemented in phases: Napocor’s diesel generators will be operated in tandem with the tidal turbines under a hybrid scheme until the island is weaned from SPUG.
Napocor currently supplies 60 percent of Capul’s electricity at not more than eight hours a day. Once operational, the ocean power plant will become a qualified third-party provider to sustainably energize the entire island, 24 hours a day.
Sabella, a leading marine energies’ technologies and engineering company, develops Tisec and is reputed for its successful project using its D-10 turbine in Fromveur Passage in energizing Ushant, an off-grid island in Brittany, France.
The project is in support of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi’s vision to prioritize the electrification of unserved areas and raise the country’s renewable energy mix.
SBOPC hopes to raise project financing for the $25-million tidal power project next year.
“We intend to fund the project on a 30-percent equity and 70-percent debt. Right now, we are reaching out to financial institutions and in talks on how they could come either on equity or debt. Meantime, they are waiting for us to give them our financial model which we are working on right now,” Kit Buenaventura, H&WB general manager for renewable energy projects said, earlier.
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