MANILA, June 4 American power firm AES Corp
said on Wednesday it is planning to invest up to $2
billion to expand its coal-fired power plant in the northwestern
Philippines and put up power storage facilities to help
stabilise supply in the energy-deficient central provinces.
AES will spend $1.2 billion to double the capacity of its
600-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Masinloc in Zambales
province, with the project expected to be finished in three
"Masinloc is very, very advanced. We've got the
environmental permits and we are now in the final commercial
aspects," Andres Gluski, AES president and chief executive, told
reporters on the sidelines at the visit to Manila by U.S.
Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.
"We are willing to expand more in the Philippines. We want
to expand more," Gluski said.
Manila is Pritzker's second stop in a three-country tour of
Southeast Asia aimed at deepening economic ties and trade in the
region as part of the U.S. rebalance to Asia. She visited
Vietnam prior to the Philippines and will end her tour in
"Power needs have to match the growth that is occurring, so
that creates need and opportunity," Pritzker said in a media
briefing, noting that the Philippines' 7.2 percent growth in
2013 was one of the fastest in Asia.
To support an economic growth forecast to stay above 6
percent annually, the Philippines must add power capacity of at
least 2,500 megawatts in the four years to 2017, according to
the government's power development plan.
AES is also in talks to install energy storage facilities
via lithium ion batteries in the central Visayas region, where
there is a shortage in power supply, Gluski said.
"(They) work particularly well on islands, so we think they
are very well adapted to the Philippines," he said of the
storage facility, adding the project could require investments
of $300 million or more.
"It is something that can be done in a relatively short
time, 12 to 18 months," he said.
AES has invested $1 billion in rehabilitating a 630-megawatt
thermal power plant it acquired in 2008. It has moved its
regional headquarters to Manila from Singapore last year
following a decision to increase its investments in the country.
Apart from power, chief executives and representatives of
U.S. firms travelling with Pritzker are studying investments in
infrastructure projects, health care, telecommunications, and
information technology, Pritzker said.
(Reporting by Rosemarie Francisco; Editing by Matt Driskill)