THE BOARD of Investments (BoI) said it recently approved an application for incentives of Libertad Power and Energy Corp. for a 6-megawatt (MW) biomass power plant worth P919.4 million in Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur.

The company qualifies as a renewable energy developer under the eligibility criteria of the 2020 Investment Priorities Plan.

The BoI said in a statement on Tuesday that the facility is expected to begin operations by December 2022.

“In terms of employment, approximately 300 people are involved in the construction period with up to 60 workers manning the site upon formal operation,” the BoI said.

Ceferino S. Rodolfo, BoI managing head, said the project will contribute to the 12,273 MW in new capacity needed by Mindanao and will help meet the National Renewable Energy Plan’s goal of 823-MW biomass power by 2040.  

“The demand for power in Mindanao will continue to increase due to the resurgence of economic growth as the country prepares for a post-pandemic scenario. The building up of capacity is needed to sustain this demand and ensure that supply of power to consumers is unhampered,” Mr. Rodolfo said.  

The BoI said the Biomass Renewable Energy Operating Contract No. 2018-05-089 will cover the development, construction, installation, commissioning, and operation of a biomass energy system that will generate electrical power from direct combustion. 

Feedstock for the plant will include rice husks, coconut husks, rice straw, corn cobs, wood chips, and coconut parts.

“Some 70% of biomass energy is consumed in developing countries for traditional uses with very low efficiency (10%-20%) while modern uses of biomass for heat and power generation include mainly high-efficiency, direct biomass combustion, co-firing with coal and biomass gasification,” the BoI said, citing a 2015 technology brief by the International Energy Agency’s Energy Technology Systems Analysis Program and the International Renewable Energy Agency.  

The BoI said Mindanao accounted for 17.4% of installed power capacity in the Philippines in 2020, citing data from the Department of Energy.

“In the same year, peak demand in Mindanao reached 1,978 MW,” the BoI said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave