29 November 2011

SBMA seeking solar, wind investors

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is seeking out investors or project partners for its planned utility-scale solar and wind power projects.

The agency which is supervising and administering the Subic freeport zone indicated in its project brief that it may align itself as facility host; but it will also work on facilitating partnership arrangements between and among developers.

SBMA is packaging two sets of wind and solar projects to be located within the freeport.

One would be a 100-megawatt solar with 50-MW wind capacity to be developed along 800 hectares of lot in Mt. Sta Rita. The other would comprise of 112-MW wind and 131-MW solar for siting at 1,383 hectares lot in Redondo Peninsula.

The investors have to be involved in the development, installation and construction of the proposed renewable energy (RE) facilities.

The government-run entity emphasized that both projects are still at pre-development stages and feasibility studies are yet to be completed.

The implementation and financing method for the projects, according to SBMA, will be determined based on the outcome of the project blueprints being crafted.

Many of the wind and solar power projects being planned in the country have not advanced yet because developers are waiting for the regulatory decision on the feed-in-tariff (FIT) charges to be levied on emerging RE technologies.

Without the FIT or if the subsidy will be set too low, prospective investors may still shelve project plans if they deem it non-commercially viable to stake capital under such circumstances.

Even lenders are adamant yet at extending financing to RE ventures without an assurance that revenue stream from the projects will be aptly supported by subsidy schemes, such as the FIT.

Solar, in particular, has been drawing extreme opposition from various groups given the developers’ bid for relatively high FIT rates.

The Energy Regulatory Commission is scheduled to re-open public hearings on the FIT petition this December 5 but a final ruling may not be rendered until the first half of 2012. (Myrna M. Velasco, Manila Bulletin)