Netherlands & S. Korean firm eyes $1B power projects in Philippines

Korea Water Resources Corp., the leading water resources and Power Company in South Korea, is looking to invest as much as $1 billion in equity for various water and power projects in the Philippines over the next three years.

Specifically, K-Water is considering the installation of floating solar power systems at the Angat Dam and the construction of the Kapangan hydropower project in Benguet, said K-Water representative in the Philippines, Jiheun (Peter) Yun.

According to Yun, the company is willing to invest as much as $60 million to install the "floating solar power system" in any of the dams in Luzon.

Once installed, it will be the first of its kind anywhere in the Philippines, the company claimed.

K-Water has already begun talks with potential partners including the Ayala group and conglomerate San Miguel Corporation.

K-Water explained in a separate statement that the floating solar power system involved the setting up of solar panels in a reservoir, which would allow it to generate higher power output and, at the same time, create an ideal environment for fish spawning since it constrains green algae.

Yun told reporters that the company would initially install a system that could generate 10 megawatts.

K-Water is still considering whether the system will be installed at the Angat Dam or in other dams, such as the San Roque (Pangasinan) facility, Casecnan (Nueva Vizcaya) or the Caliraya-Botocan-Kalayaan (CBK).

According to Yun, K-Water is set to conduct a feasibility study by early next year. This study is expected to be completed within six months. The actual construction of the power plant will take another six months.

"This is the first time (in the country) that the floating solar power system will be constructed within a water reservoir. In Europe and the US, similar projects … are being installed in oceans and/or rivers," Yun said.

It was only last year that K-Water started installing the system in a water reservoir. That same technology has been in use in Europe and the United States for the past decade.

Yun, meanwhile, assured the public that a power facility in water reservoirs would not pose hazards to the environment or to surrounding host communities, citing the company's experience in South Korea.

He stressed that the facility would not contaminate the water reservoir, such as the Angat Dam, which currently provides 97 percent of the water requirements of Metro Manila.

Since the initial project will have a 10-MW capacity, the company plans to sell the electricity to other private firms, Yun said.

As for its planned hydroelectric power project in Kapangan, Benguet, K-Water earlier announced that it would invest $200 million for a 65-MW facility.

Liquigaz expanding business in Philippines

Liquigaz Philippines Corporation., the local unit of SHV Gas of Netherlands, is planning to expand its business in the country by offering fuel products other than liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Liquigaz president and managing director Santanu Guha told reporters that although SHV Gas almost gave up its Philippine business a few years back, the management changed its direction and decided to stay put.

"We are looking at all the emerging countries, because as you are aware, Europe is going through a very bad phase. You have to invest somewhere else and Asia is the place which people around the world are seeing as an emerging (region). It is expected that the next 25 years will belong to Asia," Guha said.

"That's the reason our management has decided to stay here in Philippines and give it more time to focus on the deployment of products for brand build-up, not only in the LPG business but in other types of fuels as well," he added.

When asked if Liquigaz would participate in the local downstream oil retail sector once it decides to retail other types of fuel products, Guha said it was an option but nothing was definite.

Liquigaz is maintaining a bullish outlook on the Philippines despite an expected slower growth this year.

"Our results in 2011 have not been every good because of the fluctuation in gas prices as well as in foreign exchange—we're importing in dollars but selling in pesos. Those fluctuations were bad for us," Guha said.

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