Filinvest Group to develop solar farms

Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) - June 16, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Filinvest Group is developing various renewable energy (RE) projects, starting with 56 megawatts (MW) of solar farms.

The Gotianun family is pursuing RE projects as the country transitions to cleaner power sources, Filinvest Development Corp. (FDC) president and CEO Josephine Gotianun-Yap said during the 2021 EJAP mid-year economic forum yesterday.

“Definitely, as solar power becomes much more competitive now and later on when battery also becomes more viable, and you can switch to baseload power being provided by solar with the combination of battery. That’s definitely something we will be pursuing and taking a look at,” she said.

Its immediate pipeline of RE projects includes large-scale solar farms and solar photovoltaic rooftop projects.

“We have about 56 MW of renewable energy projects and we are also doing solar rooftop projects for major industrial clients. We have about 4.3 MW of solar rooftop projects that are currently being done,” Gotianun-Yap said.

She said the 56-MW solar farms are joint venture projects with big power players such as ENGIE and are at different stages of development.

“As far as the RE budget is concerned, I cannot give a figure per se because we are in partnership with a lot of the bigger players like ENGIE. I think our budgets are quite flexible based on being able to get certain projects or offtake agreements,” Gotianun-Yap said.

FDC operates a 3x135-MW circulating fluidized bed coal thermal power plants at the PHIVIDEC Industrial Estate in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental through subsidiary FDC Utilities Inc. (FDCUI).

Two units of the coal power plant started operating in October 2016 while the last unit followed in May 2017.

As of end last year, the plant had off-take agreements for 283 MW, with 17 distribution utilities and one industrial customer.

Last month, Gotianun-Yap said the company was eyeing to secure a contractor for the remaining capacity of the coal thermal plant.

In 2018, FDCUI partnered with Engie Services Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. to form Filinvest ENGIE Renewable Energy Enterprise, Inc. (FREE), primarily to engage in the installation and operation of renewable energy facilities, particularly solar rooftop projects.

FREE, which is 60-percent owned by FDCUI and 40 percent by ENGIE, has not started commercial operations as of end-2020, but is in the process of finalizing several contracts to install and operate solar rooftop facilities for various commercial users.

Apart from solar projects, FDC is looking to develop a 26-MW hydropower plant in the Pampang River in Luzon and a biomass cogeneration plant.

FDC, the listed conglomerate of the Gotianun Group, operates in the property, banking, sugar and energy industries through its subsidiaries and manages multiple hotels in Metro Manila, Clark and Visayas.

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