Singapore-based Macquarie Capital has committed to invest at least $1.2 billion in the Philippines to build a 1,300- megawatt (MW) floating solar plant on Laguna Lake, touted to be the biggest of its kind in Asia.
The investment firm signed a letter of intent during the state visit of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in Singapore last Sept. 7.
In a ceremony held at Shangri-la Singapore, Oliver Lewis of Macquarie Capital signed the investment deal in the presence of the President, his economic team and several Singapore-based foreign investors.
The floating solar plant will be developed in partnership with SunAsia Energy. In June last year, Blueleaf Energy, a 100% Macquarie Capital-owned company, and SunAsia Energy agreed to co-develop the 1,300-MW floating solar facility in Laguna.
Macquarie formalized its funding commitment to construct the green infrastructure during the state visit of President Marcos in Singapore.
Climate change mitigation
According to Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles, “two companies with an environmentally friendly business model, and aligned with the government program on climate change mitigation, topped the investments secured by the President during his state visit to the Lion’s City.”
Macquarie Capital in particular vowed to support the Philippines’ goal to decarbonize the power industry.
Under the agreement, the floating solar panels to be installed on the water surface of Laguna Lake spans the cities of Calamba, Sta Rosa and Cabuyao, and the towns of Bay and Victoria.
The Philippines has recorded yellow alerts every summer due to the lack of electricity reserves. With the 1,300-MW injection of solar power into the system, rotating blackouts are expected to be reduced, especially in the export processing zones in Laguna.
10,830 new jobs
For the lakeside communities, the floating facility is expected to create 10,830 new jobs in the construction sector, and boost 1,700 jobs in the service sector, particularly during the operations and maintenance phases of the project.
The manpower figures were based on the Department of Energy’s estimate of new jobs per megawatt of solar energy developed.
According to Commercial Counsellor Carla Grepo of the Philippine Trade and Investment Center Singapore, “the investment commitment underscores this administration’s 8-point socioeconomic agenda.”
“This floating solar project will not only aid in mitigating climate change but also help the country economically recover from the effects of the pandemic,” she said.
Expected to be operational by 2024, the solar-powered megastructure in Laguna Lake will be the biggest in Asia and is poised to become an engineering wonder in the world, attracting scientists and academics, as well as local tourists.
As soon as construction begins, P2 billion will be made available immediately to the Laguna Lake Development Authority to fund initiatives that aim to improve the lake’s water quality and accelerate the development and balanced growth of the lake area and its surrounding provinces.