CLARK Freeport Zone will soon enjoy the benefits of clean power with the launch of a 22.3-megawatt solar plant last Friday.
The $40-million (P1.8 billion) Clark Solar Power, located in a leased in a 25-hectare property inside the Freeport, is a joint venture of Mabalacat Solar Philippines Inc. (MSPI) and two Singapore-based renewable energy developers – Sindicatum Renewable Energy Company and Armstrong Asset Management.
The solar project in Clark could energize at least 100,000 households in Pampanga and Clark once fully operational.
Clark Development Corporation (CDC) president Arthur Tugade and Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) president Arnel Casanova graced the inauguration and were assisted by Robert Driscoll, president of Sindicatum Group, parent company of Sindicatum Renewable Energy, and Jose Leviste Jr., MSPI chairman.
Tugade said CDC continues to seek and provide dependable, sustainable and efficient power supply in Clark, adding that the solar project would help ensure adequate and cheap power supply to current and future locators within the Freeport Zone.
It is estimated that the output from the Clark solar project will support 25,000 jobs within the Freeport Zone.
The project is interconnected through Clark Electric Development Corporation (CEDC), and as such will supply most of its power to the local area served by CEDC, including the locators in the Freeport Zone. The project is also registered with the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), and will supply power not required by CEDC to support the Luzon grid.
The plant was completed on March 7 with the conclusion of the testing required by NGCP.
Full operation will start this month once it is registered with the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) and given approval to connect as a generator by NGCP.
The Clark solar power project is part of CDC’s efforts to reduce carbon footprint inside Clark and supports the development of Clark Green City (CGC), which will be a major new integrated city involving commercial, industrial and residential developments.
SREC is a Singapore-based developer, owner and operator of renewable clean energy projects in South and Southeast Asia. SREC develops project in three renewable energy types: solar power, waste to energy and bagasse cogeneration. The Clark Solar project is the first of several solar projects being developed by SREC in the Philippines.
SREC has leased land and is developing an additional 75-MW of solar projects, including a 25-MW project which will be built on land leased from BCDA near the new Clark Green City.
Sindicatum Group president Robert Driscoll said Sindicatum is also investing in another solar energy project in CGC.
“We signed a land lease agreement with BCDA for a piece of property which would host 20-25 MWs of additional power capacity,” Driscoll told reporters.
“We signed the lease, doing the design work, going through all the permitting. We would start construction later this year, partly depends on when the next FIT [feed-in-tariff] program of the DOE [Department of Energy] will be announced,” he added.
“This project is about $40 million [worth]. For the next project we would expect a little bit less, around $35 million. Partly due to economies of scale, solar power prices are coming down. We’ll be able to manage some other costs, and development cost will be lower. If we do a 20-MW plant, it will be $30-32 million,” Driscoll.
“Originally it was 25 hectares, but due to topography it kicked [up]to 38 hectares,” he added.