GBP unveils Institute for Energy in Iloilo
ILOILO CITY — Global Business Power Corp. (GBP) on Tuesday launched a learning institute in Iloilo City where its employees can enhance their skills in responding to power plant operational and maintenance contingencies as the company prepares for expansion.
“It took us two years to build this,” said GBP President Jaime T. Azurin in a press conference on the sidelines of the GBP Institute for Energy (GIE) launch in Brgy. Ingore, La Paz District, Iloilo City.
He placed the investment in the institute at “close to P300 million,” with existing employees initially as the institute’s students. GIE places the company in a good position in the face of its plan to build up its renewable energy (RE) portfolio to produce 300 megawatts (MW).
“We just finished our new fiveyear vision, and it will talk about sustainable energy solutions,” Mr. Azurin said, adding the strategy starts in 2019 and ends in 2023.
The capacity of GBP by end2023 would be at least 1,500 MW, of which 30% are targeted to come from renewables. The expansion is expected to cost around P4 billion to P5 billion.
“Sustainable energy solutions, the way we define it, is basically mixing renewable sources with fossil- based fuel,” Mr. Azurin said.
GBP has an existing capacity of 854 MW of mostly coalfired power plants. It is one of the leading independent power producers in the Visayas, with facilities in Cebu, Iloilo, Aklan and Mindoro.
“Let’s face reality. Renewables will not be able to address all the power requirements of a growing economy. But our strategy is to minimize fossil-based fuel. So as we do renewable projects [what becomes their] back up are fossilbased fuel [plants],” he said.
Mr. Azurin said the company has about 5 hectares to develop solar farms, starting with “maybe 20, 30, 40 [MW]” as it increases “the renewable part of the delivery of power.”
“Of course, there are projects to be developed,” he said, adding the company is open to acquiring existing solar power projects, especially “stranded” ones or those that were built at a huge investment but failed to secure a guaranteed rate for the power they produce.
The GBP official said that to be able to jumpstart GBP’s foray into renewable energy, it would need acquisitions as part of its “cycle of development” that requires projects with existing operations, which the company plans to buy, as well plants under construction or in the predevelopment phase.
Mr. Azurin said the company could not wait for two years to construct a power plant, thus the need for acquisitions to quickly achieve the five-year target capacity.
“So dapat meron kaming mabili (So we have to buy something),” he said.