EPI’s $185-M RE project draws foreign partners


IN response to the government’ call for more investments in renewable energy (RE), foreign pro-environment firms have agreed to take part in the $185-million geothermal facility of local renewable energy firm Emerging Power Inc. (EPI) in Oriental Mindoro.

Among those who have already expressed intention to participate in EPI’s 40-megawatt power facility are Mekong Brahmaputra Clean Development Fund (MBCDF) under management by Dragon Capital Group, and Netherlands Development Finance Co. (FMO), EPI Chairman Martin Antonio Zamora said.

He said the move by foreign firms was in response to the recent call of President Benigno Aquino 3rd for the energy sector to invest in renewable energy to ensure adequate energy supply that would not be harmful to the environment.

“The entry of our pro-environment investors is in sync with the president’s call for renewable energy companies like EPI to help solve the power problem without harming the environment,” Zamora said.

He said both Dragon Capital and FMO are advocates of sustainable development projects.

Joseph Hoess, director at Dragon Capital, said “MBCDF is proud to be making its first investment in the Philippines with a highly reputable renewable energy company like EPI.”

He said MBCDF engages in clean development investments that meet the ‘triple bottom line’ principles of ‘people, planet and profit’.

Zamora said EPI’s geothermal project in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro—which is set to start its drilling phase next month—will help stabilize power supply in the archipelago, bring down electricity costs and uplift the economic conditions of the people in Mindoro.

“The geothermal project is expected to result in as much as P2.1 billion in savings (or by 40 percent from P11 per kilowatt-hour to P6.58 per kWh) in electricity bills the people of Mindoro will pay in four years’ time,” according to Zamora.

House energy committee chair and Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali welcomed EPI’s project.

“We are happy that Dragon Capital and FMO share our vision of bringing in progress and development without disturbing the ecological balance that this virgin-forested island is known for,” said Umali.

EPI has tapped the expertise of Geo-Survey Institute of Iceland (ISOR) and the Institut Teknologi Bandung of Indonesia.

According to Zamora, 30 percent of the total investment would be direct equity and 70 percent debt financing sourced from Philippine banks while Dragon Capital and FMO are looking to invest around 15 percent in equity.

FMO is an entrepreneurial development bank of the Netherlands. The bank invests risk capital in companies in developing countries.

MBCDF is a limited partnership established in Guernsey focused on the development and deployment of clean technology to promote economic growth in Asia. It is managed by Dragon Capital Clean Development Ltd., a subsidiary of the Dragon Capital Group, an integrated investment group centered in Vietnam with over $1.4 billion of assets under management.


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