The BioPower Group, spearheaded by Negros Island Biomass Holdings Inc. and funded by global investment firm ThomasLloyd, is planning a 200-megawatt biomass expansion project.
Don Mario Dia, BioPower director and treasurer, said the expansion hinged on the issuance by the government of a feed-in tariff for the three plants, which were completed last year in time for the deadline set by the Energy Department.
“We’re looking at about 200 MW (expansion). Different places,” Dia said.
He said the biomass plants would have a capacity of 20 MW to 30 MW each, with estimated project cost of P3 billion to P4 billion per facility.
“We have written a letter already, pleading to expedite (the FIT) if they can push and allow... Give us the FIT and we will expand,” Dia said.
The BioPower Group last year completed its three biomass power plants fueled by sugarcane field residues in Negros island with a combined capacity of 70 megawatts and total investments of P16 billion.
The said three projects were waiting endorsement from the Energy Department to avail of the FIT.
The FIT under the Renewable Energy Law of 2008 guarantees all eligible renewable energy plants to the applicable FIT for a period of 20 years.
The department earlier endorsed to the Energy Regulatory Commission its decision extending the FIT for biomass and run-of-river hydro for another two years until December 2019 or “upon successful commissioning of the run-of-river hydro and biomass power projects, covering the remaining balance of their respective installation targets, whichever comes first.”
The biomass projects, however, exceeded the 250-MW installation target by 70 MW. The department has yet to endorse to the Energy Regulatory Commission the projects’ eligibility for FIT availment.
The ERC in 2012 approved a FIT rate of P 6.63 per kilowatt-hour for biomass and later reduced to P6.5969 per kWh.