US$25 million 1.5-MW tidal in-stream energy conversion project planned in Philippines

San Bernardino Ocean Power Co. announced last week it has received approval from the Philippines Department of Energy to develop a 1.5-MW tidal in-stream energy conversion project at Capul Island in the Philippines, at an estimated cost of US$25 million.

An exact start date for construction is not immediately available, but developers said upon environmental approval, generation should begin in 2019. The project includes three 500 kW turbines, transmission lines and onshore storage.

The joint venture is between a consortium that includes H&WB Asia Pacific (Pte Ltd) Corp. and Sabella SAS of France. H&WB Asia Pacific has 60% ownership and Sabella SAS, 40%. The consortium is negotiating with Northern Samar Electric Cooperative Inc. for a power supply agreement.

According to information from H&WB Asia Pacific, San Bernardino Strait is one of three passages that facilitate exchange between Pacific Ocean and interior seas in the Philippines. Located between the islands of Luzon and Samar, the channel measures about 18 km from Padang Point to the northwest, and Malalimon Point to the southeast. Across this narrowest section, water depth reaches to about 150 m.

The islands of Capul and San Antonio in San Bernardino Strait are in the Small Power Utilities Group fueled by diesel power plants. Connection to electricity is limited, especially in Capul where its islanders have electricity for about six hours a day, according to Sabella SAS.

According to PowerPhilippines, during the Tidal Energy Forum on June 14, Kit Buenaventura, H&WB general manager for renewable energy projects, said, “We intend to fund the project on a 30% equity and 70% debt. Right now, we are reaching out to financial institutions and in talks on how they could come either on equity or debt.”

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for

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