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Aboitiz unit temporarily shutters biomass power plant in Batangas

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Aboitiz Power Corp. said it temporarily halted operations of Aseagas Corp.’s biomass energy facility in Lian, Batangas. -- ABOITIZPOWER

ABOITIZ POWER Corp. (AboitizPower) said its unit Aseagas Corp.’s 8.8-megawatt (MW) biomass power plant in Lian, Batangas will remain shuttered, as the company assesses its options.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange, AboitizPower said the Aseagas plant had earlier halted operations on Nov. 24 due to the unavailability of organic effluent wastewater.

“After evaluating the circumstances and the ongoing technical problems relating to the plant’s fuel stock and digester components, Aseagas decided to maintain the shutdown and to determine the appropriate way forward,” it told the stock exchange on Monday.

The supply of organic effluent wastewater was supposed to come from Absolut Distillers, Inc. The plant converts the organic effluent of Absolut into clean and renewable energy. It is meant to power about 22,000 households while producing 33 tons per day of liquid carbon dioxide for the industrial and beverage industries.

“This continued shutdown will allow us to look at our options, taking into consideration the interests of all our stakeholders,” AboitizPower President and COO Antonio R. Moraza said in a separate statement.

At the same time, Aseagas said it has prepaid an outstanding P2.368-billion loan with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

Aside from the DBP loan, Aseagas also invested equity of around P950 million for the biomass plant and has around P460 million in outstanding liabilities.

AboitizPower acquired the biomass plant in July last year, adding to its portfolio of renewable energy projects. The deal was through Aboitiz Renewables, Inc., the listed company’s holding firm that houses its investments in renewable energy. AboitizPower acquired the Aseagas facility from parent firm Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc.

The biomass power plant was expected to start operating and delivering power to the Luzon grid before October 2016. It built up AboitizPower’s renewable energy footprint, which currently covers large hydro, run-of-river hydro, geothermal and solar.

“Despite these challenges, our other projects are progressing as planned. About 500 MW of attributable capacity, mainly from baseload and hydro power plants, will come online in 2018. We are on track to meeting our 4,000-MW net attributable capacity target by 2020,” Mr. Moraza said.

On Monday, shares in AboitizPower closed higher by 0.39% at P38.65 each. — Victor V. Saulon

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