Pascual announces P1.03-T RE investments

An estimated P1.031 trillion worth of foreign investments in renewable projects are expected to pour into the Philippines, Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual announced.

In a statement, Pascual said that the biggest of these projects is the P360-billion (€6 billion) offshore wind project -BuhaWind project — by Danish renewable energy developer Copenhagen Energy A/S (CE) to be located in Ilocos Norte. Pascual said the BuhaWind project is the most advanced among the committed RE investments.

Pascual, who is also Board of Investments (BOI) chairman, said that the investment promotion agency is evaluating eight renewable energy projects worth P446 billion.

“This amount does not yet include the BuhaWind project which is at an advanced stage of entry as well as the P225 billion pump-storage and solar energy project," he qualified.

According to Pascual, the BuhaWind Energy is a joint venture of CE with Philippines' PetroGreen Energy Corp. The project involves the development of offshore wind power with wind turbine generators of about 15 to 20-megawatt capacity each in the waters off Burgos, Bangui, and Pagudpud towns. The project is expected to be in commercial operation by 2028.

Pascual has already met with Copenhagen Energy Chief Executive Officer Jasmin Bejdic.

Pascual said the BuhaWind project has already secured a service contract. "fThe company is likewise generally on track and progressing with its community engagement, financial impact assessment, and national strategy," he added.

For his part, Bejdic said his company is looking forward to the implementation of the project saying the Philippines remains a very promising business destination for floating wind towers. “With proper government support, we will be able to implement the project according to plan with Ilocos region as definitely one of the best resource for wind power,” the DTI statement quoted the Danish executive.

The recent meeting with the Danish investor was a follow-through meeting and one of the concrete results of the promotional activities conducted during the Presidential Visit to Brussels last December 2022, where the BOI and Copenhagen Energy discussed the latter's plans to invest in the Philippines.

Further, Pascual said the BOI is working closely with concerned government bodies such as the Office of the President (OP) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to further accelerate the start of the company's commercial operations. It can be noted that the OP is also currently working on the issuance of an Executive Order that will enable the establishment of Green Lane, precisely for strategic investment projects such as this one.

"I am looking forward to the implementation of this project, especially since CE has already secured a Service Contract. They also already submitted a system impact study last week, which already included the electrical design and proposals on how to bring power to the grid,” Pascual shared. He likewise mentioned that the BOI is in close coordination with other government agencies involved to expedite the evaluation of the study.

The BOI, with its forged strategic partnership with local government units (LGUs), is likewise working closely with Ilocos Norte LGU for the alignment and collaboration on investment promotion, facilitation, and investor servicing activities to ensure that investors will have a seamless experience in doing business in the Philippines. The various collaborations between BOI and other government instrumentalities are reinforced by existing memorandums of agreements (MOAs) that BOI entered into with them. Most recently, the Board has signed a MOA with Governor Matthew Manotoc of Ilocos Norte. This MOA is set to also facilitate the renewable energy (RE) project of CE.

“We highly regard renewable energy projects, especially off-shore wind types, as game changers especially as more and more investors particularly in global value chains (GVCs) are looking for locations that provide solutions on net-zero carbon commitments of companies,” Pascual added.

Pascual further added that the BOI is also engaged with the World Bank on the implementation of its recommendations following their Offshore Wind Study last year. The WB ranked the Philippines as the 8th best location globally for offshore wind.

Earlier, Pascual announced the incoming massive investments in the renewable energy sector in 2023 as more companies are transitioning to cleaner power sources.

He also emphasized that renewable energy projects will again be a key driver for investments this year, especially following the removal of the foreign equity restriction.