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Talks up for 1st ocean power facility in RP, Asean region

The San Bernardino Strait inches closer to becoming the launch pad for the Philippines and the Asean region’s first commercial ocean power plant after the Renewable Energy Management Bureau (REMB) of the Department of Energy (DoE) held a successful public consultation with San Bernardino Ocean Power Corp. (SBOPC) and PNOC Renewables Corp. recently in Capul Island, Northern Samar.
The pioneering and transformative project is envisioned to provide reliable and clean power supply to the island of Capul, which is off-grid under the Small Power Utilities Group (SPUG) of the National Power Corp. (NPC).
The remote island solely relies on obsolete, costly, and polluting diesel generators for electricity.
Northern Samar Electric Cooperative (NORSAMELCO) will be the off-taker for an initial 1.5-megawatt power plant harnessing the marine current resource in San Bernardino Strait, which separates the islands of Luzon and Samar.
Sabella Société par Actions Simplifiée (Sabella) of France is deploying a resilient marine turbine that will use tidal in-stream energy conversion (TISEC) technology, an ocean power technology mostly adaptable in Philippine waters.
The power plant expands to three MW with a one-MWh storage. The capacity of the tidal farm is scalable to electrify Calintaan and Matnog in Sorsogon that have a demand of up to 20 MW for the next three years.
The project is envisioned to benefit the nearby municipalities of San Antonio and the major towns of the provinces of Sorsogon and Northern Samar within SBOPC’s concession areas.
San Bernardino Strait’s tidal currents have a 500-MW potential. Tidal currents are predictable, and produce massive kinetic energy to run marine turbines.
“TISEC could be the technology of choice in ocean renewable energy development in the Philippines,” said Antonio A. Ver, president of H&WB, the joint venture partner of Sabella in SBOPC, which earned three Ocean Power Service Contracts awarded by DoE on October 30, 2013.
The project will be implemented in phases: NPC’s diesel generators will be operated in tandem with the tidal turbines under a hybrid scheme until the island is weaned from SPUG. NPC currently supplies 60 percent of Capul’s electricity at not more than eight hours a day.
Once operational, the ocean power plant will become a Qualified Third Party (QTP), which will handle both electricity generation and distribution to sustainably energize the entire island 24/7.
Sabella, a leading marine energies’ technologies and engineering company, develops TISEC and is reputed for its successful project using its D-10 turbine in Fromveur Passage in energizing Ushant, an off-grid island in Brittany, France.
Sabella chairman and president Jean-Francois Daviau is a strong advocate of a “Fossil-Free Island” (FFI) in Europe.
The project is in support of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi’s vision to prioritize the electrification of unserved areas and raise the country’s renewable energy mix.

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