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    First Gen: Casecnan win to boost deficient hydro complex

    May 22, 2023 - Philippine Daily Inquirer


      The Lopez family's First Gen Corp. moved to lock in the 165-megawatt (MW) Casecnan hydroelectric power plant in Nueva Ecija province to augment supply in one of its existing hydro projects, a top official said.

      First Gen executive vice president Richard Tantoco told reporters last week that the company's Pantabangan-Masiway hydro plant nearby was running at only 45 percent of its total 132-MW capacity due to low water levels in the area.

      First Gen subsidiary Fresh River Lakes Corp. (FRLC) won the upstream Casecnan project in a competitive bidding led by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. last week.

      Casecnan, a run-of-river power facility located in Barangay Villarica, Pantabangan, serves as a main source of irrigation for farmers in the province. It also supplies energy to the power-hungry Luzon grid.

      To recall, FRLC gave a winning $526-million offer for the project, besting the bids of the consortium of EEI Power Corp., Soosan ENS Co. Ltd., Soosan Industries Co. Ltd. and Mapalad Power Corp. at $298.9 million, and the Aboitiz group's Neptune Hydro Inc. at $258 million.

      First Gen president and chief operating officer Giles Puno said it was important for the company 'to make sure that the reservoir is controlled by First Gen … we could supplement even more supply coming from the upstream side of Casecnan, then that will help Pantabangan-Masiway.'

      Puno added Casecnan was also crucial in expanding the company's renewable energy portfolio.

      'It also enables us to build out solar and wind [projects] as well because these are intermittent. If we add it up, we create a renewable energy portfolio,' he told reporters last week on the sidelines of the company's annual stockholders' meeting.

      First Gen, the power unit of conglomerate First Philippine Holdings Corp., currently operates natural gas, geothermal, hydro, wind and solar facilities producing a combined 3,501.4 MW of electricity for the country.

      The company announced it was aiming to increase its installed capacity to 13 gigawatts by 2030 after earmarking $1.1 billion in capital expenditures for 2023.


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