China Financing Eyed For Agus-3


MANILA, Philippines — Should it be given the go-signal to develop the proposed 225-megawatt Agus-3 hydropower project, the Zamora Group-led corporate vehicle will be tapping the Development Bank of China for the $500-million funding for the facility’s construction.

The contractor being eyed for the project, according to the project developers, is China Gezhouba Group Company Ltd. or CGGC.

Based on the current shareholdings of project sponsor Agus 3 Hydropower Corporation, the Tranzen Group Inc. of the Zamoras holds the 80-percent equity and the other 20-percent by partner Lanao Hydro Corporation.

What has not been cleared by government at this point though is how a private party be engaged for the Agus 3 development – like if there would still be a need for bidding to award that particular project to interested parties.

This is a matter that must be resolved by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) being the transferee-owner of the Agus hydropower complex.

Agus-3 Hydropower Corporation chairman and chief executive Salvador B. Zamora II has raised both with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC) the urgency and the need to develop the project so it can help ease supply problems in Mindanao.

Energy Secretary Rene D. Almendras reportedly opined that any investment move on the Agus-3 project shall be in keeping with the privatization plan set for the entire Agus hydropower complex.

However, this is being disputed by Zamora, noting that the project, considering that it is a “greenfield venture,” is independent of the disposal plan earlier set for the existing Agus hydropower generation facilities.

The project developer also sought that the facility be entitled to registration for a renewable energy (RE) service contract and it be granted the incentives prescribed for such project developments.

In a letter to JCPC co-chairperson Henedina Abad, Zamora noted that “the development of the Agus-3 can proceed independently of the privatization of the Agus complex.”

He said that even by allowing the project to advance to commercial development phase, such would still conform to the policies enshrined under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act.

He added that “the implementation of the Agus-3 will optimize the utilization of the water of Lake Lanao and Agus River for power generation consistent with the objectives of the Water Code of the Philippines.