Two of the projects — to be built in Bukidnon — will have capacities of 10 MW each; while the other one in Misamis Oriental will produce 12 MW.
Development of the biomass projects, MGE Chairman James R. MacKay said, will take around nine months.
“We’re spending $3 million per MW for all-in costs, including the turbines,” Mr. MacKay said in a chance interview in Bonifacio Global City. MGE, he said, will provide project financing and will develop the resource that will be used for the project.
“We will bring the biomass crop called bana grass. It’s a sister to napier grass but you only plant it one time,” Mr. MacKay said.
The crop yields up to 600 wet tons per hectare annually for 30 years and can be harvested thrice a year, he said.
“This crop is a dedicated biomass therefore it doesn’t interfere with the food crop. The stems of the crop are really good for biomass for existing steam boilers,” Mr. MacKay said.
The bana grass can also be converted to clean coal, he said. “We have contracts here for Korea, Japan and Spain… They are using it for existing coal power plants,” he said.
MGE currently has plantations in Negros Island, Nueva Ecija and Leyte. The company is also expanding its presence in Cebu and Mindanao.
The bana grass originally are planted as windbreak for crops like sugar cane since they can grow up to 28 feet. — Claire-Ann Marie C. Feliciano