Gokongwei's URC builds 'green' power plant in Negros

Posted at 03/12/14 3:56 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Gokongwei-led Universal Robina Corp. (URC) has started construction on its "green" power plant in Negros Occidental.

URC said ground-breaking for the P2.52-billion bagasse-fired power plant in Negros Occidental is scheduled on March 18. The plant is expected to start operations in August 2014.

This marks the company's foray into power generation, as it seeks to support its sugar milling operations in the province and to fill national power demand.

"Through this power plant, we will not only reduce the use of fossil fuel, but also sustain the livelihood of many sugarcane farmers in the URC Sonedco area,” said Rene Cabati, business unit general manager of URC Sugar.

URC, best known for manufacturing Jack n' Jill, C2 and Blend 45 branded snacks and drinks, has already signed a 25-year biomass renewable energy operating contract with the Department of Energy.

The 46-megawatt plant will use bagasse, a sugarcane by-product of the company’s sugar mill in Kabankalan, Negros Occidental, which has a capacity of 9,000 tons of sugar cane a day.

Sonedco requires only half the capacity of the plant, so URC is planning to sell the rest of the power supply to the national grid.

Last year, the company said it will sell to the grid about four to five MW in the first year of the plant’s operation, to about 16 - 22 MW by year 2015.