The Eastern Petroleum Group is venturing into a $70- million biomass power production in power-starved Mindanao, company chair Fernando L. Martinez said.
The 20-MW plant and the associated feedstock plantation will be implemented by Eastern Petroleum subsidiary Caraga Renewable Power Corp. (CARE Corp.), Martinez said in a text message.
The group is finalizing the feasibility study for the biomass plant project. There are prospective investors but the study will have to be completed first, he said.
Martinez said the project site would be selected in September.
Wood chips will be used as feedstock for the biomass plant. The material will come from an industrial plantation of fast-growing trees in Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur.
A separate company will be managing the tree plantation. For this purpose, CARE Corp. has formed a joint venture with the Manobo council Wawa Tribal community in Agusan del Sur.
“We will start planting by November this year,” Martinez said.
Presently, the Eastern Petroleum Group is conducting soil boring and other tests at the proposed site. The group is also working on getting a service contract for biomass power production.
Data from the Department of Energy show that about half of fuel inputs for power generation in the Philippines comes from renewable energy, mostly from hydropower. Yet the country wants to triple its RE capacity by 2030 to curb its dependence on traditional and sometimes pollutive energy sources such as coal.