The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has found Universal Robina Corp’s (URC) biomass power plant in Negros Occidental eligible for a feed-in tariff.
In a “certificate of compliance” signed by its commissioners: Gloria Victoria C. Yap-Taruc; Josefina Patricia A. Magpale-Asirit; Alfredo J. Non; and Geronimo D. Sta. Ana, the commission decided that the 46MW power plant, in Kabankalan city, is entitled to a feed-in tariff of P6.63 per kilowatt-hour till 2035, for a committed capacity of 20MW.
A feed-in tariff is an energy supply policy meant to support the development of renewable energy projects by offering long-term purchase agreements.
Under this policy, an eligible producer of renewable energy is entitled to a guaranteed payment of fixed rate – the feed-in tariff – for each kilowatt-hour of energy it supplies to the relevant grid.
The biomass power plant is URC’s foray into renewable energy. It will use bagasse from URC’s sugar mill in Kabankalan, which has a capacity of about 9,000 tons per day.
Bagasse is the dry, pulpy residue left after extracting juice from sugarcane. It is normally thrown away as a byproduct, but it can be used as fuel.
Half of the Kabankalan power plant’s output will be used by the sugar mill. The other half will go to the Visayas grid under a 25-year operating contract with the energy department.
Business Unit General Manager for URC Sugar & Renewables Group (URC SURE) Rene Cabati said the power plant, “will support the government’s program on renewable and green energy.”
He added that the facility is part of URC's efforts to incorporate environmental, social, governance, or ESG, initiatives and practices into its business.
"URC believes it has a responsibility towards the environment and has taken concrete steps towards compliance with environmental laws, promoting recycling and reincorporation, investing in renewable energy, sustainable sourcing, promoting animal welfare, and sustainable farming." Cabati said.