The Board of Investments (BOI) has approved the application of Libertad Power and Energy Corp. as developer of renewable energy using biomass resources with investments of P919.4 million.

The project is listed in the 2020 Investment Priorities Plan of the BOI and is eligible for tax incentives for renewable energy.

The 6-megawatt biomass plant will be located in Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur. It is slate to be operational by December 2022, employing 300 people during the construction period with up to 60 workers manning the site upon formal operation.

According to the BOI, provisions of the Biomass Renewable Energy Operating Contract (BREOC) No. 2018-05-089 will govern the development, construction, installation, commissioning and operation of a Biomass Energy System that will generate electrical power from Direct Combustion System (Boiler Steam Turbine Generator) using rice husk, coconut husk, rice straw, corn cobs, wood chips and coconut parts as feedstock.

A technology brief prepared by International Energy Agency-Energy Technology Systems Analysis Program (IEA-ETSAP) and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in 2015 showed that “some 70 percent of biomass energy is consumed in developing countries for traditional uses with very low efficiency (10%-20%) while modern uses of biomass for heat and power generation include mainly high efficiency, direct biomass combustion, co-firing with coal and biomass gasification.”

“The demand for power in Mindanao will continue to increase due to the resurgence of economic growth as the country prepares for a post-pandemic scenario. The building up of capacity is needed to sustain this demand and ensure that supply of power to consumers is unhampered,” Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo said.

Rodolfo said the project will contribute to the required capacity additions of 12,273 MW in Mindanao and the National Renewable Energy Plan (NREP) target of 823 MW biomass power by 2040.

In 2020, Mindanao contributed 17.4 percent in the total installed capacity of the country, second highest among the three island groups, per Department of Energy data. In the same year, peak demand in Mindanao reached 1,978 MW.