Prime Infra’s $7.6-B projects get faster permit processing


By Sheldeen Joy Talavera, Reporter

PRIME Infrastructure Capital, Inc. on Wednesday said its two pumped storage projects worth $7.6 billion (P444 billion) have received certificates from the government that qualify them for expedited permit processing.

In a statement, the company said its Wawa Pumped Storage Project in Rizal and Pakil Pumped Storage Project in Laguna have been certified as “energy projects of national significance.”

The certification is authorized by Executive Order No. 30, signed by former President Rodrigo R. Duterte in 2017. It expedited the issuance of regulatory and documentary requirements from local and national government agencies.

Former Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi halted the issuance of the certification in 2020 to “evaluate the department’s effectiveness in securing regulatory requirements of energy projects.”

The Energy department last year lifted the suspension to “rationalize and streamline the process of permitting and licensing of energy projects and thereby ensure their timely implementation.”

Under an order issued in April, the agency must certify an energy project as nationally significant if it has a capital investment of at least P3.5 billion and has a “significant contribution to the country’s economic development.”

The Pakil Pumped Storage Power Project is under Ahunan Power, Inc., a wholly owned unit of Prime Infra.

It will have a storage capacity of 14,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) daily and a generating output capacity of 1,400 megawatts (MW).

“The project investment amounts to $5.03 billion and is expected to be among the largest pumped storage power plants in Asia once completed,” Prime Infra said.

The Wawa Pumped Storage Project is being developed by Olympia Violago Water Power, Inc., another Prime Infra unit.

The project has an investment worth $2.57 billion and will have a storage capacity of 6,000 MWh per day and a generating unit capacity of 600 MW.

Both projects, which received “green lane” endorsement from the Department of Trade and Industry and the Board of Investments last month, will start operating by 2030.

“These are critical projects, essential to enable the energy transition and to enhance grid security through flexible energy generation,” Prime Infra President and Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Lucci said in a statement.