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AboitizPower breaks ground for second solar venture, to create ‘brighter future’ for Pangasinan

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Aboitiz Power Corporation (AboitizPower) on Thursday held a virtual groundbreaking ceremony for its 94-MW peak solar power project in Pangasinan, an undertaking seen to create a “brighter future” for the province.

Pangasinan Governor Amado I. Espino III welcomed AboitizPower’s multi-billion-peso project, saying that this significant investment in sustainable power generation will help address the country’s need for more and cleaner energy sources to fuel the nation’s growth.

“Today marks a milestone in Pangasinan as we break new grounds to provide a safe and brighter future for our province and for our fellow Filipinos. This starts our tie-up to provide safe and renewable electric power to our people while protecting the environment for the next generations to enjoy,” Gov. Espino said in his message of support during the virtual event.

AboitizPower, through a special-purpose vehicle wholly owned by subsidiary Aboitiz Renewables, Inc. (ARI), in December last year awarded to JGC Philippines, Inc. the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contract for the project, with a total investment of ₱4.5 billion.

“Cayanga Solar is a very significant project for us at ARI. This marks the beginning of our exciting journey ahead — growing our renewable energy portfolio over the next 10 years to accelerate the Philippine energy transition to more environmentally sustainable sources,” ARI Executive Director David J. Smith said.

AboitizPower team members plant a narra tree sapling on the site in Cayanga, Bugallon, Pangasinan province where the company’s 94-MW peak solar power plant will soon rise. The sturdy and durable narra, considered as the Philippines’ national tree, also symbolizes AboitizPower’s strong resolve to contribute to a more reliable, cost-efficient, and sustainable power system for the country.

The project will soon rise on a 196-hectare site in Barangay Cayanga, about 13 kilometers southwest of the province’s capital. This will be the company’s second solar facility after its 59-MW peak solar plant in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.

Construction is set to begin on the project immediately and is targeted to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2022. JGC had completed the site investigation works and the results were used for the ongoing detailed engineering and design of the facilities. Temporary facilities are being erected and completion of the access road going to the plant is currently underway.

Once completed, the power plant is expected to produce about 147 million kWh of clean energy annually or equivalent to the yearly power consumption of 60,000 average Filipino homes. The majority of the facility’s capacity will be contracted for retail electricity supply, which can help bring cleaner and more sustainable energy to power consumers across the country.

“In our partnership with you, the Department of Energy (DOE) hopes that other companies and individuals will follow and do their advocacy for renewable energy and lessen our dependence on fossil fuels. The groundbreaking of this solar farm proves that solar energy is technically and economically competitive and could deliver clean and green energy, helping our nation to mitigate climate change impacts through the reduction of carbon footprints by offsetting the energy produced by these fossil fuels,” DOE Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentebella said.

AboitizPower is also looking to develop other renewable energy projects in the region, particularly wind and solar, with tendering on the 167-megawatt peak Laoag solar project in Aguilar, Pangasinan ongoing, and having already erected two met masts in the municipality back in February 2021 as well as two more in Bugallon in September 2021. Met mast refers to the structure where measuring equipment used for gathering resource data such as temperature, wind speed, and wind direction, among others, is installed to estimate energy production and understand the suitability of the site.

AboitizPower’s 10-year growth strategy aims to contribute to a more reliable, cost-efficient, and sustainable power system for the country. With a projected investment of around ₱190 billion, the company is looking to grow its Cleanergy capacity to 4,600 MW, which will make up 50 percent of its total generation portfolio of 9,200 MW by 2030.| – BNN

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