Wednesday, February 15, 2017

URC’s biomass power plant secures FiT incentive

Posted on February 01, 2017

GOKONGWEI-LED Universal Robina Corp. (URC) has received a certficate of compliance from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for its 46-megawatt biomass power plant in Negros Occidental, the company said on Tuesday.

Renato P. Cabati, business unit general manager of URC’s sugar and renewables group, said the power plant “will support the government’s program on renewable and green energy.”

The certificate of compliance entitles URC with a guaranteed feed-in-tariff (FiT) of P6.63 for each kilowatt-hour exported to the electricity grid by its power plant in Kabankalan City until 2035. The plant has committed 20 MW for this purpose.

URC’s biomass plant, the company’s foray into renewable energy, will be powered by bagasse from its sugar mill in Kabankalan. The mill can produce 9,000 tons of the dry, pulpy residue left after extracting juice from sugarcane. Bagasse, which is usually thrown away as a byproduct, can be used as fuel.

The listed company, which is involved in a range of food-related businesses, will use half of the biomass plant’s output to power its power mill. The rest will be delivered to the Visayas grid under a 25-year contract with the Energy department.

Mr. Cabati said the facility is part of URC’s efforts to bring environmental, social, governance initiatives and practices into the URC business.

“URC believes it has a responsibility towards the environment and has taken concrete steps towards compliance with environmental laws, promoting recycling and reincorporation, investing in renewable energy, sustainable sourcing, promoting animal welfare, and sustainable farming,” he said.

Under the FiT system, qualified developers of emerging renewable sources are offered a fixed rate per kWh of their exported electricity, but excluding the energy for their own use. Their entitlement is taken from a “feed-in-tariff allowance” billed to all on-grid electricity consumers who are supplied with power through the distribution or transmission network. -- Victor V. Saulon

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