Biliran power plants construction delayed

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Monday, March 26, 2012


NAVAL, Biliran -- The construction of planned power plants in this province by geothermal developer Envent Holding Philippines Inc. was delayed due to financial crisis.

Representative Rogelio Espina (Biliran, lone district) said the developer told him that the project was halted due to the the 2008–2012 Icelandic financial crisis, a major economic and political crisis in Iceland that involved the collapse of all three of the country’s major commercial banks.

Envent Holdings’s key shareholders are Reykjavik Energy Invest and Geysir Green Energy, both based in Iceland where 100 percent of the power is derived from renewable sources.

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An Iceland-based newspaper reported that Reykjavík Energy has failed to make a profit from their 2007 and 2008 investments, effectively making them lose money. Geysir Green Energy was reportedly selling its assets to decrease the company’s debts.

Espina, the former provincial governor, said they are hoping that the firm will proceed with the building of power plant in the province after completing its exploration activities and electricity sales in 2009 and 2010.

“We really need this power project to ensure stable energy supply in the province and other parts of the country. This will also attract more investments,” the lawmaker said.

In past interviews, Envent’s chief executive officer Gudmundur Sigurjonsson said they will build three power plants in Biliran starting 2011 with a capacity to produce 150-megawatt (MW) power.

The capacity is mainly intended to supply the national demand considering that Biliran only consumes six to seven MW.

Envent also confirmed that they were done closing electricity sales contracts worth $338 million with five electric cooperatives in Eastern Visayas with a combined capacity of 35-MW renewable energy. The contract has a term of 10 years with a price between $100 to $113 per MW.

Under the plan, the excess power supply will be offered to the six off-takers, and a portion left for the upcoming Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) in the Visayas region.

The firm was doing project design, preparing environmental applications and the financial structure when they decided to hold the project.

The baseload electricity will come from Envent’s 50-MW Biliran Unit 1 geothermal power plant, which is scheduled to come online in 2012 on the Biliran Island. The plan is to build at least three units in Biliran with a capacity of 50 MWs each.

Surface exploration was completed early 2008 by a group of sub-contractors, including Phoenix Geophysics of Canada and the Philippine geothermal consultancy Fedco.

The mountainous island is considered a compound volcano with a single historic eruption in 1939. It is estimated that Biliran has at least 100 MWs of geothermal energy. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)

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