Japanese oil refiner Idemitsu to invest in solar power project in Philippines

18, Feb. 2020

Photo by Andreas Gücklhorn on Unsplash
Photo by Andreas Gücklhorn on Unsplash

MANILA, NNA – Major Japanese oil refiner Idemitsu Kosan Co. is entering the solar power business in the Philippines to expand its renewable energy portfolio as the country endeavors to boost its clean energy output.

The company said in a statement on Monday it will participate in PowerSource First Bulacan Solar, a solar power project with installed capacity of 80,900 kilowatts in San Miguel, Bulacan Province, north of Manila.

The project costs at 4.25 billion pesos ($83.9 million). Construction began last month and the plant is scheduled to become operational in the fourth quarter of this year, an Idemitsu Kosan spokeswoman told NNA.

Idemitsu has engaged in the solar energy business in the United States and Vietnam, while producing solar, geothermal, wind and biomass powers at home, aiming to ramp up its clean energy output capacity from the current 200,000 kW to 4 million kW by 2030. It said it is exploring further business opportunities in North America and Asia.

The Japanese refiner plans to invest an undisclosed sum in PowerSource First Bulacan Solar Inc., a subsidiary of local renewable energy producer PowerSource Energy Holding Corp.

Other participants in the project are MGen Renewable Energy Inc., the renewable energy arm of the Philippines’ biggest utility Manila Electric Corp., and Sunseap Philippines Solar Holdings Pte. Ltd, the local arm of Singapore’s Sunseap International Pte. Ltd., according to Idemitsu’s statement.

MGen will hold a 40 percent stake in the project, PowerSource 36 percent and Sunseap International 24 percent, according to the utility known as Meralco.

PowerSource First Bulacan Solar Inc. will supply electricity to Meralco for 20 years, according to the utility’s statement, serving Metro Manila on the Luzon Island, which accounts for over 70 percent of the total power demand in the Philippines.

The spokeswoman said the company picked the Philippines among Southeast Asian nations for investment in the field as the archipelago nation has favorable renewable energy policies and high electricity demand.

“The Philippines’ power consumption style is expected to further diversify according to community forms and consumer/corporate needs, expanding the range of application for renewable energy,” Idemitsu said in the statement.

Aside from the solar power plant, Idemitsu said it also entered into a joint venture agreement with PowerSource Energy Holding, which engages in installing “hybrid power plants with batteries and power generation stations for self-consumption on the rooftops of commercial facilities.”

In 2019, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Department of Energy to reduce the country’s dependence on coal-fired power, which accounted for 51.9 billion kW of the country’s total electricity generation of 99.8 billion kW in 2018, according to the latest available data from the department.

Of the total, renewable energy came in second with 23.3 billion kW in the same year, followed by natural gas at 21.3 billion kW.

The Philippines has been encouraging investment in the power sector, including renewable energy, by streamlining the process of application and approval of such projects to increase the generation capacity of its power grids amid the growing demand for electricity in the country.

It also aims to increase the share of renewable energy in the country’s power mix by 35 percent by 2030.

The solar power project site in San Miguel, Bulacan Province on the Luzon Island. (Photo courtesy of Idemitsu Kosan)
The solar power project site in San Miguel, Bulacan Province on the Luzon Island. (Photo courtesy of Idemitsu Kosan)