By Victor V. Saulon

A MALAYSIAN company has pledged to invest up to $2 billion to put up 12 waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities in the Philippines in partnership with Filipino company Integrated Green Technology, Inc. (IGT) and a French technology provider.

Michael C. Jimenez, chief executive officer and president of IGT, identified the Malaysian firm as PhilSar Renewable Energy Sdn Bhd. and the French group as CNIM Martin Pte Ltd. (CMPL), his partner in at least three WTE projects in the Philippines that have forged contracts with local government units in Pangasinan and Cebu.

“We’re excited about this,” he said in an interview after a conference on Friday to announce that company’s three WTE projects, two of which are in Cebu and one in Pangasinan.

The initial projects will cost about $230 million and will be funded by Allied Project Services Ltd. of London. The WTE projects earn from the fees collected from local government units, which have difficulty managing their waste disposal.

Mr. Jimenez said the projects in Cebu will be on Mactan island and on the main island itself, while another one in Cebu City is being finalized. Another project is also in the pipeline in Pangasinan.

Dolores S. Rivera, chief finance officer of PhilSar, said the partners will form a local company for the 12 projects, which are targeted for completion in about five years.

“[PhilSar] is investing $2 billion to fund the said projects,” she said on Friday.

“We’re going to enter into a memorandum of agreement and right after [that], we’re going to sit down with the foreign EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractors, then after that we’re going to enter into a joint venture,” she said in an interview.

She said the funds will be invested in 12 different cities in the Philippines for the construction of WTE facilities. She described PhilSar as owned by Filipinos and Malaysian-Chinese.

“We will be entrusting that to IGT,” she said when asked about the capacity of each facility. She estimated the power output of the 12 projects at 480 megawatts.

She said the joint venture partners will be participating in the ongoing projects of IGT in Cebu and Pangasinan, while a fourth one in Bulacan is set to follow after the acquisition of a property in San Jose Del Monte. Baguio is also a possible location for a WTE facility, she said.

“It depends on the trash, it depends on the hauling, it depends on the municipality waste kung gaano kadami,” she said. “Kung saan pinakamarami, doon pupunta.”

Asked about the timeline for completing the $2-billion WTE projects, she said: “I think about five, six [years].”

Denis Bauer, director and chief executive officer of CMPL, said what differentiates the French technology provider from other builders of WTE facilities is its paced approach in constructing its plants.

“Our approach is straightforward incineration,” he said. “With us, we take the waste, almost everything which has come, we can burn it.”

He said the business plan is more “compact” and requires a smaller loan than projects that include other segments such as waste recycling.

“So it’s much more simple. What we have decided with IGT is ‘let’s go first with waste-to-energy,’” he said, adding that the project will gain acceptance by showing that it works and is not polluting the environment.