MANILA — Aboitiz Renewables Inc is set to add offshore wind power to its portfolio in the coming years with a grant from the United States.
The renewable energy arm of Aboitiz Power Corporation already has investments in solar, geothermal, large hydro, and run-of-river power that generate around 1,000 gigawatts.
The grant signed on Saturday in Makati City by Aboitiz Renewables and the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) puts into motion a year-and-a-half feasibility study to pinpoint potential project sites.
The US estimates the resulting wind turbine generation projects could generate up to 3 gigawatts providing electricity to 2 million homes.
“We’re really looking to grow our renewable energy capacity and add the much-needed renewable energy to the Philippine supply,” said Lee Hazel Balangue, Aboitiz Renewables’ first vice president for Philippine development.
Aboitiz has 2 solar projects under construction and is now working on service contracts for developing offshore wind.
“There’s huge potential for offshore wind in the Philippines. We’re surrounded by water,” Balangue added.
“Solar is very important to us, but you also need a lot of land to do solar. If we’re able to do offshore wind then we don’t need to use existing land.”
The power firm had set to acquire a Vietnamese wind energy company in 2019 but aborted the deal in 2020.
Balangue said the grant—costing $800,000 or over P40 million for its first phase—would help them find at least 6 sites for offshore wind projects.
The USTDA-funded study will be done with Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute and Singapore firm Clime Capital, said USTDA director Enoh Ebong.
"Our assistance will be critical toward defining the wind projects’ technical and design options, as well as structuring deals for international financial institutions," Ebong said in a statement.
US secretary of state Antony Blinken, who witnessed the awarding of the grant during his Philippine visit, said he hoped the agreement would galvanize more investments in wind power in the country.
A roadmap by the World Bank and the Philippines’ Department of Energy released last April estimates the country’s offshore wind potential at 178 gigawatts.
The study projected that offshore wind could provide at least 3 gigawatts by 2040 in a low-growth scenario or up to over 20 gigawatts of power or 14 percent of the Philippines’ energy supply under a high-growth scenario.
However, it noted that cost, transmission, limited local supply chain, financing, and ownership restrictions could hinder the growth of developing offshore wind resource.