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PNOC-Renewables Corp in First Tidal Energy Project in the Philippines - 2017-01-27

PNOC-Renewables Corporation (PNOC RC) believes in harnessing renewable energy from tidal streams along Philippines’ coasts, and commits to contributing to energy self-sufficiency in line with the Department of Energy’s policy of a balanced energy mix.

To realize this objective, PNOC RC signed a MOU on October 27, 2016 with H&WB on three Service Contracts from the Department of Energy, mainly in San Bernardino Strait, together with SABELLA SAS of France, a global leader in the Marine Energies industry. H&WB had earlier performed ocean resource assessment, and preliminary in situ current measurements to determine the overall energy potential of San Bernardino Strait between Matnog in Sorsogon and Northern Samar. Moreover, it carried out a thorough review and analysis of proven Tidal In-Stream Energy Conversion (TISEC) technologies. The evaluation process led to the firm selection of SABELLA as the technology-of-choice on TISEC. On October 15, 2015, H&WB and SABELLA signed an exclusive Memorandum of Agreement to jointly develop and implement a “Demonstration project” in viable blocks of San Bernardino Strait that lead to commerciality.


The islands of Capul and San Antonio in San Bernardino Strait are in the Small Power Utilities Group (SPUG) fuelled by diesel power plants. Connection to electricity is limited, sometimes nil, especially in Capul where its islanders have electricity merely for six hours a day. The Local Government of Capul displays strong political will, and its populace actively gets involved to augment power supply because their old diesel generators often fail, leading to prolonged blackouts. Growth has been exceedingly slow. Besides, the deleterious effects of fossil-based power impact negatively on environmental sustainability. In view of this, tidal power as part of an innovative, insular energy model is a green and cost-competitive alternative to fossil energies, and guarantees clean power supply, 24/7, aspired for in a carbon-neutral economy.


SABELLA is a pioneering and leading player in the TISEC energy field. It was originally acclaimed in 2008 for its D03 (3-m rotor diameter), the first experimental marine current turbine installed in France. In June 2015, the D10 (10-m rotor diameter with 1 MW maximum power) was submerged in Passage du Fromveur, and connected to Ushant, an autonomous island grid akin to SPUG in November 2015. It remains the only full-scale TISEC connected to the French grid in the region of Brittany.


The technology drivers are rooted in modular architecture, which facilitates and reduces the cost of maintenance by requiring the lifting and recovery only of the turbine during maintenance operations. This allows easy deployment and recovery by letting the gravity-based support structure on the seabed.


The tidal turbine operates fully immersed, causing no hindrance to navigation or landscape impact. Moreover, the electric signal was fully qualified by a grid manager in terms of voltage and frequency. After a one-year authorized demonstration, D10 turbine was retrieved in July 2016 for expertise and optimization. It will be laid back in early 2017 to pursue its power production in Ushant grid for a 3-year period.


SABELLA and H&WB have recently completed a detailed in situ bathymetry measurement campaign to move forward to a full 3D current numerical model in order to locate the first Demonstration project, which will consist of three to five turbines. Their cohesive partnership plans and aims to establish a Special Purpose Company in the 1st half of 2017 to commence project finance and engineering works, thereby, launch the first-ever TISEC power not only in the Philippines but in ASEAN as well. PNOC RC’s role is vital, and the MOU with H&WB and SABELLA is a pro-active strategy that can support the project’s success, more so, when PNOC RC decides to invest into the SPC. With PNOC RC, the promise of a new field of ocean energies can be realized in the Philippines.


Read the full press release.

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