Vivant to invest P5.0-B for power expansion projects

Published June 17, 2021, 4:31 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

Garcia-led Vivant Energy Corporation will be funneling fresh capital outlay of P5.0 billion for expansion projects to be concretized until 2023 and targeted both in the renewable energy space and on continued development of conventional power technologies.

Emil Andre M. Garcia, executive vice president and COO of Vivant Energy, said “we’re allocating P5 billion in capex (capital expenditures), not specifically for RE but for all power projects over the next 3 years, so that’s until 2023.”

For this year alone, Vivant Corporation President Arlo A.G. Sarmiento, noted that the company will earmark P3.0 billion capex for combined RE and conventional technology-leaning power projects – and that’s a sharp increase from last year’s pandemic-hobbled capital spend of P500 million to P1.0 billion.

He specified “because of opening up of the economy, we ramped up our capex, so this is much higher than last year at P500 million to P1.0 billion and that’s all for existing projects.”

Garcia qualified that aside from greenfield power installations, the company is at the process of evaluating several asset acquisitions – including prospects in solar as well as wind farm ventures.

“For acquisition, we’re studying several sites right now — some are in Luzon, one in Visayas. We’re hoping to close within the year,” he said.

When it comes to wind farm development, Garcia stated “we have one firm project where we have enough data sets and we have the permit already in Eastern Visayas; we’re hoping to ground break on that soon.”

Another sphere that is at high point on the investment trajectory of Vivant Energy is on solar rooftop installation – and the project funding being programmed by the company on that this year is US$30 million.

“On the solar rooftop side, we’ll be ending the year with 10 to 11 megawatts of capacity; and we have in the pipeline another 13MW which we will finish by next year. Outside of that, there are some more under negotiations but what we’ve locked up until next year is 13MW of additional capacity – for a total of 23MW,” Garcia stressed.

He emphasized that the rule-of-thumb investment per megawatt of solar rooftop installed is at US$600,000 to US$800,000; hence, the aggregate target on the firm’s pipelined projects will be US$30 million and to be financed purely on equity.

“Solar rooftop is something that we would want also to aspire to lead – growth in that space has been good for us. And of course, we would like to be considered one of the leaders as far as the industry is involved within Cebu,” Sarmiento added.

He pointed out that while power investments until 2023 will be pretty much spread across technologies, “we have quite an aggressive target for RE that we want to have at least 20% of our portfolio.”

That is the premise then on the company’s decision to create a special team that will specifically focus on exploring RE investments.

“We didn’t want them to be all over the place looking at SPUG (Small Power Utilities Group), looking at retail, looking at on-grid conventional generation. So we had formed a special team just to meet our RE target…we just want to emphasize that we are allocating a large amount of resources to meet this goal, it’ a real goal for us, and we intend to do it,” Sarmiento expounded.