BW One-On-One


By Sheldeen Joy Talavera, Reporter

IN the energy and water sectors, Frits T. Delgado, president of renewable energy company BPE Corp. (BPEC), seeks to foster a collaborative community focused on problem-solving.

“I want a community that challenges itself rather than protects and becomes territorial,” Mr. Delgado said in an interview with BusinessWorld.

“I want it to be dynamic. I want people to contribute,” he added.

He also expressed his desire for a community that values not just the product, but also its narrative and goals, ensuring that its purpose is not forgotten when challenges arise.

“I want a community like that, that doesn’t only focus on the product, but the story and where it’s going, what we’re after here. So that when problems emerge, you don’t lose sight of why it was put there in the first place,” he said.

BPEC was founded in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic and began full operations in 2022. The company, headquartered in Pasig, is a partnership between advisory firm GAA Delgado, Inc. (GAAD) and BlueCap Hydro Group of The Hague, Netherlands. Their focus lies in the development of various micro-hydro projects utilizing BlueCap Hydro’s proprietary turbine technology.

Mr. Delgado started working as a business development officer at GAAD in 2016. He also became an advisor for two liquefied natural gas power plants.

“I came into college not knowing what I wanted to take. I really wanted engineering. Well, firstly, because I was pretty good at math and I loved figuring out how to build things, spacing them, and all of this. I liked learning about processes rather than rules,” he said.

He enrolled in an undergraduate program in management at Ateneo de Manila University but did not complete it. He then transferred to Kalayaan College to study psychology, which aided his understanding of human motivation.

“It felt like a default… There was no fulfillment in management at the time. Because I couldn’t contextualize it…, I think people have to get their hands wet first before you can apply management principles,” he said.

Mr. Delgado pursued a few units of a Master of Science and Management program but was unable to continue as he needed to dedicate his time to BPEC.

BPEC is currently constructing a pilot mini-hydropower project in Bulacan, scheduled to be commissioned in July, and is expected to be commercially operational this year, supported by an initial investment fund of $20 million.

Micro-hydropower plants, which typically range from one to 100 kilowatts in capacity, generate electricity by harnessing the natural movement of water.

In 2023, the company entered into a memorandum of understanding with the National Irrigation Administration to conduct a feasibility study for the pilot installation of a micro-hydropower plant at the weir of Angat-Maasim River Irrigation System in the municipality of Angat, Bulacan.

“We are funded by direct investments from the investor pool of my partner, BlueCap. We also receive partial funding from the Dutch government through specific grants and another from a soft loan provided by one of their development banks,” Mr. Delgado said.

He described the company’s turbine, to be used for the hydropower project, as unique “because it’s oriented horizontally… so it passes from left to right.”

Due to its small and modular design, the project can be installed in irrigation channels, which, he said, “enhances the overall value of the structure.”

“When managing water, it’s crucial to consider it as if it were infinite in nature but uncontrolled and disorganized, as it originates from nature.”

“There’s a concept of not building on the mountain, but building with it… You don’t compromise its integrity or aesthetics, but rather work in harmony with it. That’s the essence of what I aim to achieve with BPEC,” he added.

As he delves into his career, he said he brings with him the lessons from his father, Guido Delgado, who currently chairs GAAD and formerly served as president and chief executive officer of the state-run National Power Corp. (Napocor) from 1994 to 1998.

His father’s tenure as Napocor president was after the height of the power crisis in the Philippines in the early 1990s.

From October 1992 to May 1993, the main island grid of Luzon experienced rotating brownouts of up to 10 hours daily, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.

“A lot of the big functional plants were put up at that time,” he said.

Napocor provides power generation and associated power delivery systems in areas not connected to the transmission system, through the Small Power Utilities Group.

“There was a lot of mentorships involved from my father, of course. He’s very skilled in financial structuring, marketing, dealing with the regulatory and all that. I took all of that, all of those learnings, simulated it,” he said.