AboitizPower eyes hydro projects in Myanmar, Indonesia

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ABOITIZ Power Corp. (AboitizPower) is looking at potential hydropower investments in two Southeast Asian countries, Myanmar and Indonesia, as part of a bid to expand its power business in the region, a ranking company official said.

AboitizPower President and Chief Operating Officer Antonio R. Moraza said on Wednesday that AboitizPower and its partner, SN Power of Norway, a hydropower specialist, will build a hydroelectric impoundment facility in Myanmar.

“Our partners have the expertise. You know, they have over 15,000 megawatts (MW) of hydro power [capacity]in Norway. These guys really know what they are doing,” he said.

AboitizPower and SN Power have a joint venture, SN Aboitiz Power Group (SNAP). SNAP-Benguet owns and operates the 105-MW Ambuklao and 140-MW Binga hydroelectric power plants (HEPPS) in Benguet while SNAP-Magat owns and operates the 360-MW Magat HEPP at the border of Isabela and Ifugao. Construction of an 8.5-MW power plant along the Maris Canal in Isabela is also ongoing.

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Moraza said the company will be building a large impoundment facility with capacity of several hundred of megawatts in Myanmar. Based on SN Power data, Myanmar has 39,000 MW hydropower potential with only 6 percent total installed capacity.

“We know the site [in Myanmar], people have been there. We studied [it], talked to the local community. When you have all of that and you have the licenses, etc., then you can already start the design. [The process is] long and it takes a while,” he said.

He said that while hydropower projects have a long gestation period of about seven to nine years, the company is still moving forward on this segment.

Meanwhile, Moraza said Indonesia “has good potential of 400 or 500 MW if you cascade it. The size is yet to be determined.”

He said AboitizPower is still eyeing Indonesia despite losing out to the Ayala Group on a geothermal project there. Moraza said they will pursue hydro projects in Indonesia. “It is ongoing, definitely,” he said.

He said AboitizPower is pursuing projects in coal, geothermal and biomass to meet its target of achieving 4,000-MW net sellable capacity by 2020.

“The 4,000-MW 2020 is already there, kind of. We have several projects ongoing: Pagbilao 3, which is end of the year; Therma Visayas, which is first quarter next year; Manolo Fortich, which is end of the year and GNPower Dinginin, which is 2019. By that time, we should be able to do them and hopefully two or more smaller hydro projects by Hedcor,” Moraza said.

“None of these includes any expansion outside the Philippines because the expansion outside won’t be finished by 2020 anyways,” he said.

“If you look at it, there’s no need to build any new plants here for at least five to seven years, given what’s being built right now. So, yes, you can either go outside or you buy somebody. Adding new capacity is probably not the solution,” he said.

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