EPI starts construction of Subic wind, solar power projects

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RENEWABLE energy firm Emerging Power Inc. (EPI) is set to start today (Monday) the development of its multibillion-peso wind and solar power projects at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

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EPI on Saturday broke ground for its RE projects, consisting of a 100-megawatt (MW) solar facility and a 50-MW wind power plant located on Mt. Sta. Rita.

“Construction will begin Monday on the substation to be erected next to the current SBMA substation,” said Jose Bayani “JB” Baylon, vice president for corporate communications of Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC), which holds a majority share of EPI.

Construction of the solar and wind power area is set to begin next month, Baylon said.

Baylon said the Mt. Sta. Rita Solar project, amounting to $200 million, is expected to be commissioned in February and commercially operational by June 2016.

“This is a project of Jobin-SQM Inc, a locator in SBMA which was bought by Emerging Power Inc, a subsidiary of NAC,” he said.

In 2014, JSI president Nancy Tan signed a 50-year lease agreement with SBMA chairman Roberto Garcia for a wind and solar development on an 800-hectare property on Mt. Sta. Rita, about 8 kilometers away from Olongapo City.

JSI has energy service contracts for 100 MW of solar power and 50 MW of wind power granted by the Department of Energy (DOE).

A feasibility report by JSI released in March 2015 showed that the site is a suitable location for a solar energy facility that can produce up to 100 MW of power.

The report cited “convenient traffic, superior geographic position and rich solar energy resources” as factors proving the viability of the project.

EPI chairman Antonio Martin Zamora said the project will help bring clean and renewable power to Subic Bay Freeport.

“When completed, it will be the largest solar and wind project in Southeast Asia and nothing can better represent the future than renewable energy technology that Pope Francis himself has encouraged societies to go into,” said Zamora.

According to analysts, the RE investment will provide NAC a steady stream of revenues to balance the fluctuating nature of mineral development.

NAC earlier said it would guarantee the loan facility of EPI for up to P3 billion over a three-year period to finance EPI’s renewable energy projects.

Besides the Subic project, EPI is also putting up a 40-MW geothermal power plant in Oriental Mindoro, a 10-MW solar project in Camarines Sur, a 2.5-MW biogas project in Quezon; and a 10-MW solar and bunker hybrid project in northern Palawan.

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