ILOILO CITY—Two biomass power plants costing P1.44 billion will be put up in Antique boosting efforts to increase the power supply in Western Visayas through the tapping of renewable sources of energy.
The Asea One Power Corp. will be constructing a two 6-megawatt biomass plants in the province with a combined capacity of 12 mw, said Paul Rodriguez, AOPC president and chief executive office, in a letter to Antique Gov. Salvacion Zaldivar-Perez dated April 21.
Rodriguez said the plants will be using rice straws, rice husks, bagasse and sugar cane waste to generate electricity.
The project is part of a P3-billion investment of AOPC to put up power plants on Panay and Guimaras producing a total of 25 megawatts by converting wastes to energy.
The firm aims to start commercial production by January 2011 from seven plants in the provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, Antique, Aklan and Guimaras.
Among the areas being eyed for the plants are the towns of Pavia, Pototan and Sara in Iloilo and the capital town of Jordan in Guimaras.
The plants are expected to consume an estimated 48,000 to 50,000 metric tons of rice husks alone each year. These will be sourced all over Panay Island, one of the country's biggest producer of palay.
Rodriguez said the putting up of the biomass plants will provide cheaper electricity to the province because the plants will be embedded in the system of Anteco doing away with additional costs like transmission charges.
The plants will also generate jobs and provide additional income to host communities amounting to one centavo per kwh of the total electricity sales of the generating plants.
Rodriguez said the plants will also help increase the income of rice millers and rice farmers because they will be the suppliers of biomass fuel for 20 years to the plants.
The AOPC is also set to sign a memorandum of agreement with Department of Energy for the establishment of three trust funds (Electrification Fund, Development and Livelihood Fund and Reforestation, Watershed Management, Health and Environment Enhancement Fund), Rodriguez said.
Perez, chair of the Regional Development Council of Western Visayas and a leading advocate of renewable sources of energy, said these projects are among those being fast-tracked to address the power supply deficit in Western Visayas and to veer away from dependence of Panay Island to the Visayas grid which gets most of its electricity from the geothermal plants in Leyte.
Western Visayas is being eyed as the center for the utilization of renewable sources of energy amid a global movement to veer away from fossil fuel.
She said contrary to claims of proponents of coal-fired power plants, there are many investors that are willing to put up power plants tapping renewable energy sources like wind, solar , hydro, biomass, waste and geothermal.
Other investor in renewable energy include the Trans-Asia Power Generation Corp., which is building a wind farm in Guimaras, Solar Electric Company and the Sunwest Water and Electric Company which has a a hydro power plant project in Antique.
Current projects and available energy using biomass was presented by the Central Azucarera de San Antonio (Casa) in Pass City which produces around 7 mw from its Bio-mass Co-Generation (Cogen) plant using bagasse.*NPB