Investors eyeing to build renewable power plants in Butuan

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/4 Aug) – Foreign and local investors are eyeing to build renewable power facilities here, part of Butuan’s new public-private partnership projects that would generate an energy capacity of 28 megawatts, Vice Mayor Lawrence Fortun said.

He said the biggest projects are two mini-hydropower plants with a total capacity of 13 megawatts in Barangay Tagibo here, proposed by the Eight-Japan Engineering Consultants Inc.

Joseph Omar O. Andaya, president of the Butuan City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc., said this Japanese company also proposed for a biomass facility that can generate energy of about five megawatts (MW).

He added that using solid waste to create biomass energy, this project will cover Butuan and Agusan del Norte.

Fortun said that yet another company, the Filipino-owned Infinity, recently proposed a 50-hectare solar energy farm that will generate at least 10 MW.

Noting that the city provides incentives for renewable energy projects, Andaya said a solar energy plant in Butuan is not practical at this time as its cost would be three times more than other renewable energy plants.

Meantime, Fortun said these projects are in the feasibility study stage.

Since its enactment last May, the city’s PPP Code is a major legislation that encourages private sectors to pour in their investments here, he said.

PPP projects are government services or business ventures funded and operated through a partnership between government and one or more private companies.

Other proposed PPP projects are a slaughter house, a “termi-mall” (terminal and mall), and corporate farming in Barangay Salvacion by a Korean company.

“We claim the pride of being the first city in the whole country to have passed a PPP Code,” Fortun said.

He said the PPP Code is a comprehensive ordinance that covers 16 possible modalities of PPP such as build-operate-transfer, joint venture, and build-and-transfer, among others.

The ordinance also stipulated the creation of PPP regulatory authority, PPP selection committee, and competitive processes that ensure transparency, he added.

Fortun said because of this legislation, PPP was institutionalized in Butuan, noting that most PPP projects are already in the final stage of negotiations.

Butuan was showcased in the International PPP Forum held at the Toyo University in Tokyo, Japan last November, being the subject of a study entitled “PPP Possibilities for the Future of Butuan City.”

Fortun said Motahide Takano of Toyo University, who was pursuing a graduate course on PPP, chose Butuan to conduct his study on PPP possibilities outside Japan due to his previous work engagements in the city.

“It was ‘manna from heaven’ because we wanted to institutionalize PPP, but did not know how to begin,” Fortun said.

Represented by Mayor Ferdinand M. Amante Jr. and Fortun, Butuan was the only LGU from the Philippines that participated in the forum in which the Asian Public-Private Partnership Institute was also established.

Back in Butuan, Amante issued Executive Order (EO) No. 51 to create the PPP executive team, which is one of the initial recommendations during the forum.

EO 51 identified seven thematic areas, including public asset management, agricultural development, renewable energy, solid waste management, education and tourism.

Then, the LGU approved the PPP code to further institutionalize PPP, which is also the thrust of President Benigno Aquino III. (MindaNews)