Of­fi­cials laud VMC’S P2B biomass power plant

Sun Star Bacolod - - Business -

TOP GOVERN­MENT of­fi­cials in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte have lauded the ini­tia­tive of listed sugar firm Vic­to­rias Milling Com­pany (VMC) on build­ing a 40-megawatt (MW) co­gen­er­a­tion biomass power plant worth P2 bil­lion in Vic­to­rias City.

In a mes­sage de­liv­ered by En­ergy Un­der­sec­re­tary Ben­ito Ranque, dur­ing the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the fa­cil­ity on Tues­day, the Pres­i­dent said such mile­stone re­flects the legacy of the Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal-based com­pany in the sugar in­dus­try.

“It is also proof of com­mit­ment to build­ing a strong cul­ture of en­ergy re­siliency,” he added.

The 40MW fa­cil­ity that uses bag­gase, a by-prod­uct of sug­ar­cane, for en­ergy gen­er­a­tion is the largest stand­alone and Depart­ment of En­ergy (Doe)-reg­is­tered biomass power plant in the coun­try.

Ranque, who also echoed the mes­sage of En­ergy Sec­re­tary Al­fonso Cusi, said that coun­try is faced with task of search­ing for sus­tain­able en­ergy op­tions to sus­tain the en­ergy re­quire­ment of its eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment goals.

As Filipinos faces nat­u­ral and hu­man-in­duced chal­lenges, Ranque said the DOE has been ac­tively pur­su­ing the max­i­miza­tion of re­new­able en­ergy (RE) use in the coun­try.

“You have taken a step for­ward with the cre­ation of an ad­di­tional biomass fa­cil­ity that in­creases your en­ergy pro­duc­tion while help­ing pro­vide clean en­ergy,” he said, adding that the biomass pro­ject of VMC, along with its bioethanol pro­duc­tion ven­ture, as­sures the pro­tec­tion of en­vi­ron­ment by mit­i­gat­ing the coun­try’s de­pen­dence on im­ported fos­sil fuel.

The in­au­gu­ra­tion, which also marked the centennial an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion of VMC, was also at­tended by sen­a­tors Cyn­thia Vil­lar and Juan Miguel Zu­biri.

Vil­lar, who chairs the Se­nate com­mit­tee on en­vi­ron­ment and agri­cul­ture and food, said sugar has now been uti­lized not only for food but also for en­ergy gen­er­a­tion.

The sen­a­tor said the new power plant is a “very good” ad­di­tion to the op­er­a­tion of VMC’S busi­ness seg­ment and an­other achieve­ment un­der the biomass re­new­able en­ergy op­er­at­ing con­tract of the firm with the DOE.

Vil­lar is also the pri­mary au­thor of Repub­lic Act 10659 or the Sugar In­dus­try De­vel­op­ment Act of 2015.

“The en­hanced re­search and de­vel­op­ment of other prod­ucts de­rived from sugar, sug­ar­cane and their by-prod­ucts is among the mea­sures cited in the law in or­der to make the sug­ar­cane in­dus­try more com­pet­i­tive, max­i­mize the uti­liza­tion of sug­ar­cane re­sources and im­prove the in­come of farm­ers and farm­work­ers,” she added.

Zu­biri, who is the au­thor of Re­new­able En­ergy Act of 2010 and Bio­fu­els Act of 2006, said the sugar in­dus­try does not only pro­vide sugar, it also pro­duces valu­able prod­ucts such as power, en­ergy and fuel.

“The fu­ture of the sugar in­dus­try is the three prod­ucts pro­duced by sug­ar­cane — power, fuel and sugar. That is the only way to sur­vive,” he stressed.

The Ne­grense sen­a­tor also ex­pressed hopes that once the biomass power plant is con­nected to the grid, the com­pany will share the div­i­dend to the farmer-pro­duc­ers.

For his part, VMC chair­man Wil­son Young said the pro­ject will not only ben­e­fit the com­mu­nity and Ne­gros but also help in a small mea­sure in build­ing the na­tion as the com­pany pur­sues the build, build, build pro­ject of the Pres­i­dent.

Mean­while, also present dur­ing the ac­tiv­ity were Third Dis­trict Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Al­fredo Abe­lardo Ben­itez and Vic­to­rias City Mayor Fran­cis Fred­er­ick Palanca.*/epn


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