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US power firm mulls energy projects in Philippines

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October 18, 2008

US power firm mulls energy projects in Philippines
A Fortune 500 power firm poised for takeover by the world’s top billion-aire Warren Buffet is looking at the Philippines as a possible investment site, the Manila Times newspaper reported Saturday.

The company, Constellation Energy Group, has sent representatives to inquire on renewable energy projects in the country, according to a highly placed source at the Department of Energy.

Constellation boasts a diversified mix of power generation assets in the United States, including nuclear, coal, natural gas, oil and renewable and alternative energy sources such as solar, geothermal, hydro and biomass.

The company recently entered into a tentative agreement with Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway following an offer to buy it for about $4.7 billion from the latter’s subsidiary.

Mario Marasigan, Department of Energy energy utilization and management bureau director, confirmed that Constellation had indeed inquired about renewable energy projects in the country.

Marasigan said the company is “looking at wind and hydro,” but has yet to submit an investment proposal.

Meanwhile, the source said that Constellation is only one of a growing number of investors swamping the DOE with inquiries since the passage of the Renewable Energy (RE) bill in Congress.

The RE bill, which only needs the signature of the President before it enters into law, mandates electric utilities to source a minimum of 1 percent of their annual energy demand from renewable energy-based sources such as wind, solar and hydroelectric power.

A feed-in tariff system will also be put in place that will set a fixed price of electricity from RE sources for 12 years and priority purchase, transmission and payment from the national grid.

The bill also proposed a set of fiscal incentives such as VAT and duty-free, tax credit on domestic capital equipment and services, income tax holiday and cash incentive for renewable energy developers.

It also provides that customers be allowed to choose renewable energy sources as their source of electricity.

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