ELEVEN Japanese firms have expressed firm interest in participating in the privatization of the National Power Corporation’s (Napocor) generating assets and in the development of the country’s geothermal fields, according to Energy Secretary Vincent S. Perez.
Perez and Trade Secretary Cesar V. Purisima recently attended the 25th Joint Meeting between the Japan-Philippines Economic Cooperation Committee (JPECC) and the Philippines-Japan Economic Cooperation Committee.
Perez said some of the Japanese firms, which are big names in Japan’s power sector, indicated willingness to participate in Napocor’s privatization.
The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (Psalm), tasked to handle Napocor’s privatization, has bid out four hydroelectric power plants: the 3.5-megawatt (MW) Talomo in Bukidnon, 1.6-MW Agusan in Bohol, 1.8-MW Barit in Camarines Sur and 0.4-MW Cawayan in Sorsogon.
Psalm is working on an accelerated privatization process with about 70 percent of Napocor’s total assets in Luzon and the Visayas sold by end of 2005.
Perez said that three Japanese firms have signified intention to take part in the Geothermal Bidding Round scheduled next month.
The energy department has identified the 10 most prospective geothermal fields open for bidding in Manito-Kayabon and Rangas-Tanawon in Sorsogon; Biliran in Eastern Visayas; Amacan in North Davao; Dauin, Negros Occidental; Natib, Bataan; Mabini, Batangas; Montelago, Mindoro Oriental; Kabalian in Leyte; and North Cotabato. Initial estimates show that the development of these fields could yield 300 MW to 470 MW in additional capacity.
The Philippines is considered the world’s second-largest geothermal producer with an installed generating capacity of 1,932 MW next to the United States.
By Paul Anthony A. Isla