BDO open to funding RE, nuke power projects


BDO Unibank, the country’s largest universal bank, is open to funding renewable energy (RE) projects in the Philippines given the government’s drive to raise the composition of RE in the country’s energy mix.

During the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Investment Forum on Friday, BDO Capital & Investment Corporation President Eduardo Francisco said the bank is “very comfortable” with financing wind, solar, and geothermal projects, though they would prefer those at the execution stage.

He added the bank is also willing to lend money for biomass projects, but would prefer doing so if the feedstock is available.

Francisco also indicated the country’s banking sector is aware of the energy transition mechanism (ETM), though pointed out that several things must be addressed relative to its execution.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) partnered with the Philippine and Indonesian governments during the recent United Nations Climate Conference (COP26) for the implementation of the ETM, in which coal power plants would be bought out in place of the development of RE technologies.

“[That’s] something the banks have not really appreciated yet, but we will talk to the ADB because [want the] transition of coal to happen smoothly also, so there would be no stranded assets for the coal investors — the original investors.”

Aside from RE, Francisco indicated that BDO is willing to finance nuclear power projects.

“We’re even open to [nuclear, if the DOE allows it]. We’re willing to look at it. Of course, we recognize that there will be concerns [from] civil society on the safety, but if that can be mitigated because we need good alternative energy,” he said.

The DOE has been pushing for the inclusion of nuclear in the country’s energy mix. Relative to this, Philippine Nuclear Research Institute Director Carlo Arcilla positioned nuclear power as RE at a forum back in August.

Francisco added that banks in general are now willing to offer longer tenors for energy financing given the country’s growing energy demands.

“[Energy] is something that we really like. Energy financing is something that we really understand and will focus on, and because of the energy needs of the country,” he noted.