In a joint venture, local energy development company H&WB Asia Pacific (Pte Ltd) Corp. and French maritime energy solutions Sabella SAS are set to construct the country’s first ever ocean tidal power plant in Northern Samar.
The project’s contract, which was granted by the Department of Energy (DOE) to H&WB in 2013, will cost $25 million or roughly P1.2 billion.
The project will cover areas in the San Bernardino Strait including Capul Island, the target location of the tidal in-stream energy conversion plant.
“We intend to fund the project on a 30 percent equity and 70 percent debt. Right now, we are reaching out to financial institutions and in talks on how they could come either on equity or debt,” said Kit Buenaventura, H&WB general manager for renewable energy projects, during the Tidal Energy Forum on June 14.
The fund will include the storage and transmission systems, and at least three turbines to be situated in the San Bernardino Strait.
As of writing, Northern Samar Electric Cooperative Inc. (Norsamelco) is being tapped by the companies for a power supply agreement (PSA). Norsamelco is Northern Samar’s main distribution utility.
“[DOE] requires PSAs so we are now in talks with Norsamelco, the distribution utility of Capul. We are currently in initial talks for a PSA soon,” Buenaventura said.
The energy development companies will conduct necessary assessments including environmental impact and distribution impact. The latter will be piloted by Norsamelco.
“We expect environmental impact assessment to be done in six months. Distribution impact study […] should be done in half a year. While all these studies are being done, we are doing our detailed engineering end design so we can do that timeline,” Buenaventura added.
To keep up with Capul’s energy requirements, H&WB and Sabella lowered their initial phase of tidal power from 3 megawatts (MW) to 1.5 MW.
The municipality is currently running on 250 kilowatts energy that is only available for 16 hours. The formation of the plant will enable the locals to have 24-hour energy service with only a rating of 1.5 MW.
Buenaventura shared that the project already has the approval of the Capul local government unit.
“We have local support which is needed for the Sangguniang Bayan’s endorsement and that’s what we will get in the next few months,” he said.
“In the upcoming years, with the development of [let’s] say ice factories for fishermen, better equipment for medical centers and so on, we will be able to upgrade the rated power of the turbine just by changing the equipment on the shore without retrieving the turbine,” Sabella business development manager Jean-Christophe Allo added.