FirstGen reveals $20B investment plan to 2030

First Gen plants resume operations

Lopez-led First Gen Corporation intends to invest $20 billion (around P1.123 trillion) until 2030 to sustain its 20 percent market share in kilowatt-hour production and meet the increasing electricity demand of Filipinos.

The company’s massive seven-year investment plan aligns with the energy demand of the domestic economy and decarbonization goals set by the Department of Energy, as stated by First Gen President and COO Francis Giles B. Puno during a press briefing on May 17.

The $20 billion funding will be allocated towards various projects outlined in the company’s investment roadmap, including 1,000 megawatts of onshore wind farm facilities in current concession areas, the development of three gigawatts of offshore wind ventures in the Guimaras-Iloilo-Negros Occidental regions, and the creation of a solar farm in Leyte’s geothermal sites.

First Gen Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Emmanuel Antonio P. Singson stated that the company’s ongoing projects include $1.1 billion in programmed capital expenditures (capex) for this year. This amount includes the $526 million payment for the acquisition of the Casecnan hydroelectric power plant, which was obtained through a sale conducted by the state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation on May 16, 2023.

In relation to the ongoing projects, he mentioned that the company has allocated $585 million, with $403 million dedicated to the various project developments of the subsidiary Energy Development Corporation (EDC), primarily focusing on geothermal and battery energy storage system (BESS) ventures.

The allocated funds will also include $90 million for the completion of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal, scheduled to be finished by September this year. Additionally, $50 million will be allocated to support the ongoing implementation of the Aya pumped storage hydro project, with the remaining amount dedicated to the capex for the conglomerate’s gas plants.

Puno clarified that the increased investment strategy is not exclusive to their company, stating that it is a growing approach adopted by many in the industry, including their competitors, as they strive to achieve decarbonization targets.

The First Gen official also informed the company’s shareholders that First Gen is actively staying updated on advancements in renewable energy technologies and is exploring the utilization of nature-based solutions as a means to offset carbon emissions.

He further expressed confidence that First Gen’s ongoing developments in natural gas and LNG are aiding the country to transition away from coal, adding that natural gas acts as a reliable bridge to renewable energy sources, complementing the intermittent nature of solar and wind power plants, and other renewable sources like hydro and geothermal, thereby providing energy security during the transition.

He stated that as the reliability of renewable energy improves, natural gas will eventually be phased out and replaced by other clean sources, such as green hydrogen, or decarbonized through emerging technologies like carbon capture.