More solar facilities eyed in Bataan freeport

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – More solar power developments are being eyed in the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB) in support of the country’s push for renewable energy (RE) projects, a ranking government official said.

In an interview, FAB chairman and administrator Deogracias Custodio said the freeport area is supportive of the country’s push for RE.

“There’s a possibility of looking into wind but solar is the most aggressive. Solar, not just for grid-utility, but also rooftops,” he said.

Custodio said the freeport area has a sloping landscape which is conducive to large-scale solar plants.

“In Mariveles, the entirety of it, is very hilly. There are limited flat areas which we promote to locators. What solar developers want is the sloping lands. There are other areas in Mariveles that can accommodate (solar) and that’s also good for us so the whole property can be utilized,” he said.

So far, FAB hosts an 18-megawatt (MW) solar power plant developed by Filipino-Korean renewable energy developer Next Generation Power Technology Corp. (NGPT).

Custodio said the 18-MW power plant was built in an area “which, for us, was unusable.”

“The solar (is) already operating. It’s an 18 MW (plant) that’s (developed by) NGPT. All those inspections were done and they were already supplying by the (March 15) deadline,” he said.

The FAB official also said a couple of solar developers have also approached the freeport management for rooftop installations but declined to cite specific companies.

“We already got a proposal from a group that wants to put up one on the roof of our administration building and supply to us. There are a couple of other groups looking also at buildings of our locators to install solar panels,” Custodio said.

The government official said FAB will have secured and affordable power supply in the next five years with the development of the 600-MW expansion of GN Power Mariveles Coal Plant Ltd. and the planned 600-MW coal-fired power plant of the San Miguel Group.

Locators in the freeport include manufacturers of footwear, bags, ships, and semiconductors, among others.

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