San Lorenzo Ruiz to pursue $2.5-B hydropower projects

By Iris C. Gonzales, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 21 2014 08:19 AM | Updated as of May 21 2014 04:19 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Property developer San Lorenzo Ruiz Builders and Developers Group Inc. (SLRB) will embark on four major hydroelectric power projects worth $2.5 billion with a generation output of 1,212 megawatts that will augment power supply its top official said yesterday.

In a press briefing yesterday, SLRB president and chief executive officer Oscar Violago said the power projects would provide the much needed solution to the prevailing power crunch in the country.

“These projects are very much needed in our country. We will be able to greatly help the power crisis in the Philippines,” he said.

SLRB has tapped Banco de Oro Capital and Investment Corp. as financial advisor.

“As financial advisor, we will help them arrange and look for partners. We will help them select the debt and equity partner to finance the projects,” BDO Capital president Ed Francisco said.

Violago said it would take the company three to four years to finish the projects.

Constructions of the Wawa hydroelectric power project in Rodriguez, Rizal; Bolusao River hydropower project in Eastern Samar; Davao hydropower project and Chico River hydropower project in Northern Luzon will take three to four years before its operations, the company said.

Furthermore, SLRB is already eyeing to start the construction and groundbreaking of the Bolusao River hydropower project, the first power plant in Samar this year in order to help ease the power shortage in the country.

According to SLRB and BDO, foreign investors have expressed interest in the projects but the two companies are yet to disclose the potential investors.

The 500-MW Wawa project will help lower the power cost in Metro Manila as it will provide 500-1000 MW of pumped storage power capacity for peaking use in the Luzon grid. The $873-million project will also minimize flooding in Marikina, Pasig River and parts of Metro Manila. Additional benefit of the project is allowing Angat Dam to supply more irrigation water to Bulacan farmers.

Meanwhile, SLRB proposed two hydropower projects in Samar. First is a 12-MW run-of-river hydropower, then a 300-MW pumped storage hydropower project costing $15.6 million and $550 million, respectively.

“The income that will be generated by the project as well as the huge local business and realty taxes to be earned by the local government will help facilitate the assistance to the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda,” the company said.

Moreover, the 160-MW Davao hydropower project will not only provide additional power but it will also eliminate the region’s dependence on more expensive fuel for coal-fired and oil-based power plants. SLRB plans to construct a low dam to avoid flooding communities and agricultural lands. The project costs $390 million.

SLRB also proposed to produce 240-MW in the municipality of Tabuk in Kalinga, Northern Luzon, thru the Chico River hydropower project. The plant will be connected to the Luzon grid and can also have access to the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), with possibilities of higher annual revenues. The project is estimated to cost $680 million.

SLRB pioneered the construction of the $680-million Casecnan hydropower project that allowed farmers in Nueva Ecija to plant throughout the year even during the El Nino phenomenon. It also irrigates 137,000 new hectares of riceland and produces 150 MW of hydropower. – With a report from Louise Maureen Simeon.