THE JAPANESE consortium that took over the assets of Mirant Philippines, Inc. two years ago wants to bid for contracts to manage the state’s power supply deals with a number of hydroelectric plants

“We are still looking at the other bids, particularly the hydroelectric plants like San Roque,” Federico E. Puno, president of TeaM Energy Corp., told reporters.

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The statement came after listed Aboitiz Power Corp. bared last week plans to bid for hydroelectric IPPAs.

The state-led Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) published last week invitations to bid for the independent power producer administrator or IPPA contracts of the 345-megawatt (MW) San Roque hydroelectric plant in San Miguel, Pangasinan; the 70-MW Bakun plant in Ilocos Sur; and the 30-MW Benguet mini-hydroelectric facility.

PSALM has scheduled a due diligence period today, followed by a pre-bid conference on Sept. 30. The deadline for bids was set on Nov. 11.

The winning bidders will manage the contracted capacities of state-owned National Power Corp. for the plants and can secure ownership of the facilities themselves after existing build-operate-transfer agreements expire.

Mr. Puno said the San Roque plant is “a good fit with our coal plant.”

The San Roque plant is run by Japanese firm Marubeni Corp. and South Korean firm Kansai Electric Power Co. Ltd., while the Bakun and Benguet mini hydro plants are operated by Aboitiz Power Corp.

Mr. Puno said TeaM Energy was also considering renewable sources of energy such as solar or wind due to the incentives offered by the Renewable Energy Act.

TeaM Energy, the consortium that bought out Mirant Philippines, Inc., in June 2007, is a 50-50 joint venture between Marubeni Corp. and Tokyo Electric Power Corp. It produces a total of 2,127 MW from three power plants, namely Sual, Pagbilao and Ilijan. The Sual and Pagbilao plants account for 25% of Luzon’s power requirements.

The IPPA contract for the Sual plant was bagged by San Miguel Energy Corp., and Pagbilao by Aboitiz Power unit Therma Luzon, Inc., in auction on Aug. 20.

TeaM Energy’s assets used to be owned by Atlanta-based Mirant, which had divested its Asia-Pacific operations after emerging from bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, Lopez-led First Philippine Holdings Corp. will invest $20 million in its solar power subsidiary over three years starting this year.

Elpidio L. Ibanez, president and chief operating officer of First Philippine Holdings, told reporters the company had secured approval for the investment in unit First Philec Solar Corp., but did not provide more details.

Last year, First Philec Solar inaugurated a wafer-slicing plant, which is expected to support approximately 720 MW of solar energy. The plant is located inside the First Philippine Industrial Park in Sto. Tomas, Batangas and is the country’s first large-scale silicon wafer-slicing company.

A silicon wafer is the thin strip produced from cutting silicon ingots used to form solar cells to capture solar energy.

First Philec Solar is a joint venture project between First Philippine Electric Corp. and SunPower Manufacturing Ltd.

First Philippine Electric is the holding company for the manufacturing businesses of First Philippine Holdings, while SunPower Manufacturing is a subsidiary of US-based SunPower Corp., a leading designer and producer of solar electric technology.

In the first half, First Philippine Holdings’ profits rose by 14% to P3.9 billion due to higher income from Manila Electric Co. and lower foreign exchange losses and income taxes.

First Philippine Holdings shares closed P0.50 lower at P41 apiece on Friday.

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