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November 17, 2008

Global Green eyes $200m biomass projects in Philippines
The Philippine unit of British firm Global Green Power Plc wants to invest $200 million in five biomass projects with combined capacity of 87.5 megawatts as the country pursues more alternative energy sources, Reuters quoted company officials as saying.

The investment would be part of a total $1 billion in renewable energy ventures the company plans to pursue in the Philippines over the long-term, Global Green Power chief executive David de Montaigne told reporters over the weekend.

The company is currently in talks with banks, including state lender Land Bank of the Philippines, to finance the first phase of its venture involving the construction of five 17.5 MW biomass power plants in Panay and Samar provinces south of the capital and in Nueva Ecija and Pangasinan in the north.

Global Green Power expects to sign a 25-year power sales agreement with local electric cooperatives for the supply of 35 MW in Panay soon. The signing of the deal will fast track the construction of two power facilities on Panay island, which could take 18 to 24 months to be completed.

"We would like to start construction of the Panay biomass plants by February 2009," De Montaigne said.

The company is also studying other renewable energy projects in the Philippines involving wind, geothermal, hydro, biogas, and solar power over the long-term.

Global Power tapped the services of a unit of France's AREVA SA to construct the Philippine facilities according to European standards, with the project expected to generate significant carbon credits, Simon MacKinnon, company chairman said.

The Philippines is one of the East Asian countries aiming to generate 20 percent of their energy from renewable resources by 2015 and cut its dependence on costly imported fuel.

The country, the world's second-largest producer of geothermal energy, imports nearly all of its crude oil needs.

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