French utility Suez has won the tender for a 600 MW coal fired power plant in the Philippines, giving the company its first foothold in the country. Suez submitted the highest bid for the ownership, operation and management of the Calaca power plant in Batangas province in an auction organized by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp (PSALM).

The Calac plant is one of the largest power facilities to be auctioned this year by PSALM. The sale of this and other power sector assets is part of the Philippine government’s plan to privatise the sector following a restructuring in 2006.

“We are pleased with this acquisition, our first foothold in the Philippines,” said Dirk Beeuwsaert, CEO of Suez Energy International. “Recent successful sales of energy assets have already shown growing investor confidence in the country, whose reviving economy is expected to post its fastest growth rate since the 1990s.”

Suez says it will invest in the 2 x 300 MW plant in order to improve its performance and reliability, and will use the acquisition as a springboard for expansion in the country.

“The acquisition will serve as a solid base for a further development of a diversified generation portfolio, including in geothermal and hydro, all of which show interesting potential in the Philippines,” said Beeuwsaert.

The Calaca power plant is fired by pulverised coal. It includes an offshore coal unloading jetty and unloading facilities. Calaca is located in Luzon, the main area of the Filipino electricity grid. The sale of the electricity produced by Calaca is partly sold through Transitional Supply Contracts, which cover about 50 per cent of the peak load.