First Gen energizes WHI plant

Aug 16, 2021

FIRST GEN Corp. is supplying Philippine Bio-Industries Inc. (PBI)—one of the country’s biggest exporters of refined carrageenan blends—650 kilowatts of electricity to energize its production facilities in Calamba, Laguna. 

PBI, through parent firm W Hydrocolloids Inc. (WHI), has sealed a one-year contract with First Gen’s licensed retail electricity supplier Bac-Man Geothermal Inc. (BGI). 

BGI will source power from its 150-megawatt Bacon-Manito geothermal power facilities in the Bicol Region.

WHI President John Wee said the company ventured into a partnership with First Gen to lower its carbon footprint and minimize carbon pollution’s impact on environment.

“With this partnership, we are now using 100 percent renewable energy in our PBI facility in Laguna and are also in the process of executing it for our Carmona plant facility in Cavite. This partnership aims to achieve our commitment to a sustainable future, from supporting ecological seaweed communities for our raw materials to using 100 percent eco-clean energy on our plant facilities,” said Wee.

First Gen Vice President Carlo Vega expressed gratitude towards the WHI Group for accepting First Gen’s offer to shift to renewable energy (RE).

“This partnership validates our optimism that there are thousands of other companies out there that, like WHI, share with us a common desire to pursue a decarbonized and regenerative future,” Vega said.

“Individually, our shift to RE might not make a dent in the fight against climate change; but together, the amount of carbon dioxide we displace with the use of clean energy can make a big difference in stopping climate change. We will redouble our mission to forge collaborative pathways with these groups,” Vega added.

First Gen and parent firm First Philippine Holdings Corp. (FPH) recognize the risks from climate change due to the continued buildup in the atmosphere of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, including those from power plants using carbon-intensive fossil fuel.

This awareness explains the focus of Lopez-led FPH and First Gen on developing and operating power plants that run on renewable energy sources and emit minimal if not zero carbon dioxide, such as hydro, wind, solar and geothermal.

Aside from the RE projects, power plants of First Gen run on natural gas, considered the cleanest form of fossil fuel. In total, First Gen’s portfolio of power plants has a combined capacity of 3,492 MW as of 2020.

At end-June this year, First Gen reported P7.1 billion in recurring net income attributable to equity holders. The numbers are 11 percent higher than last year’s figures due to higher electricity sales and prices.

Also, the company benefited from lower interest expenses and taxes due to the recently enacted Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act Law.

“Power demand bounced back to pre-pandemic levels despite the limitations brought about by the persistently slow recovery of the economy. We are steadily progressing with constructing the country’s first LNG [liquefied natural gas] terminal for delivery in the fourth quarter 2022. We are also working to deliver more power projects across our portfolio despite uncertainty surrounding the market and its accompanying business risks,” said First Gen President Francis Giles Puno.

The company’s natural gas platform brought in P5.2 billion in attributable net income for the first half, up from last year’s P4.5-billion net income.

First Gen’s hydro platform posted an increase in attributable earnings to P300 million in the first half from P200 million a year ago.