Electrification rates in the Philippines have increased as the country has experienced a period of rapid economic growth. However, rural and remote areas continue to face frequent power cuts, impacting businesses, schools, homes and healthcare centres. Rising demand for energy is expected to exacerbate such issues in the future. As part of its Philippines Energy Plan (2013-2030), the Government of the Philippines is committed to incentivising the development of renewable energy. Despite this supportive environment, the Philippines Department of Energy estimates that the country currently has untapped hydro resource potential of up to 13,000MW. Around 2,000MW lies in mini hydro (defined as up to 10MW), however challenges persist for smaller developers in making these projects bankable.
InfraCo Asia has partnered with Alternergy Hydro Partners, a Philippines-based renewable energy developer, to co-develop a portfolio of six mini run-of-river hydropower plants in northern Luzon. Alternergy had been seeking development capital for this portfolio which, given the perception of high early-stage risk in this sector among private investors, was proving difficult to find. The North Luzon Mini Hydro Portfolio will have an aggregate capacity of around 35MW, maximising economies of scale and enabling them to be competitive against the country’s Feed-In-Tariff or bilateral tariffs agreed with provincial distribution utilities.
InfraCo Asia’s involvement has brought early-stage capital and expertise to this project, which will have a demonstration effect for the country’s mini-hydro sector. Delivering additional clean power to the country’s national grid will improve access to power for homes and businesses and it is anticipated that the portfolio will generate up to 1,500 construction jobs and 30 long-term posts. The Philippines’ regulation stipulates that part of the income generated by the hydro plants be reinvested into the local population. Alternergy Hydro Partners will complement this with its own corporate social responsibility initiatives to improve livelihoods, public health, education and the environment.
Identifying and surveying sites for the six hydropower plants in the Philippines
InfraCo Asia achieved its first exit from a utility-scale renewable energy project in 2017, selling its stakes in the Gul Ahmed and Metro Wind Power projects to private sector company Daelim Energy. Collectively, the two 50MW plants deliver improved access to power for 700,000 people and have demonstrated the efficacy of utility-scale renewables in Pakistan’s energy mix since they became operational in 2016. This sale demonstrates the effectiveness of InfraCo Asia’s mandate; having worked to support the development of the two ground-breaking projects through to operation, InfraCo Asia exited in favour of the private sector, recycling public funds into the early-stage development of new infrastructure. Gul Ahmed and Metro Wind is Daelim Energy’s first projects in Pakistan, bringing key energy and infrastructure expertise to the country.
Gul Ahmed Wind, Pakistan