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BBM for full foreign capital in power deals

President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is open to the possibility of allowing 100-percent foreign ownership of power generation projects, but the government must first iron out bureaucratic and legislative kinks that discourage foreign investments.

“The ownership is one issue but it’s not the main one. And I think if we can take care of all of that first, it would be easy to agree on the 100 percent ownership,” he said.

Marcos made the statement when asked about his views on foreign ownership after the Ambassador of Norway Bjorn Jahnsen said his country is inclined to invest in the Philippines to develop the country’s offshore wind sector.

Jahnsen said some 50,000 good-paying jobs could be generated from this sector, but noted that Philippine policies would have to be adjusted.

Although the envoy did not mention the need for 100 percent foreign ownership on that venture, Janhsen said “foreign companies should be able to own majority of the equity in these kinds of investments as they often are investments with several billions of dollars.”

However, Marcos pointed out that there are other issues that must be considered.

“These are the legislative guarantees and the regulatory guarantees.

This refers to a guarantee that the laws would remain intact for the duration of their project, that the regulations won’t change. Those are the things that they ask for,” Marcos said.

The Philippines’ Public Service Act (PSA), signed only last March by outgoing President Duterte, allows up to 100 percent foreign ownership of public services in the country.

However, this relatively new law only covers the distribution and transmission aspects of power such as electricity, and not power generation or production.

The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) placed the Luzon grid on yellow alert from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday after reserves fell below the single largest unit operating in the grid of about 650 megawatts.

NGCP said Luzon’s power demand was at 11,385 megawatts (MW) compared to the available capacity of 12,251 MW. Net operating margin reached only 412MW on Tuesday.

NGCP said unavailable capacity from unplanned outage of power plants reached 1,592MW.

 

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