Sunday, June 17, 2007

China's Sichuan eyes $1-b wind, solar farms

By Elaine Ruzul S. Ramos

Sichuan Electric Power Co. of China is exploring the possibility of investing at least $1 billion to put up solar and wind farms in the Philippines.

Francis Chua, special envoy for investments to China, said Sichuan officials had met with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in Chongqing City during her follow-up state visit to China last month.

He added the company expressed its intent to pursue wind and solar power as well as nuclear-based projects in the Philippines. The projects may require capital infusion of $1 billion to $3 billion, depending on the magnitude.

The Department of Energy had estimated that each megawatt of power generation required an investment of about $1 million.

A 150-contingent of businessmen is coming over to the Philippines from China next month to explore investment prospects.

Chua said Sichuan top officials would be part of the group to look for potential sites in Northern Luzon for the company’s proposed wind project. The company has said it prefers site to be connected to the power grid.

The Philippines is encouraging further investments in the power sector to ensure the stable supply of electricity in the country.

Electricity supply in Luzon is especially critical as the islands run out of enough installed capacity. The energy department said the Luzon grid must have an additional power capacity ranging from 1,990 megawatts to 2,290 mw by 2014 in order to have sufficient supply to meet increased demand for electricity.

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