After a long drawn out rigorous selection process, Palau Public Utilities Corporations (PPUC) has narrowed the thirteen (13) Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Independent Power Producers down to three (3).   The three finalists are METKA ENG (Cyprus based company), ENGIE (a France based company) and SOLAR PHILIPPINES, all huge multinational solar power producing corporations.

The three corporations have passed the legal, technical and financial requirements under the bidding conditions.

PPUC is expected to announce the lowest bidder sometime next week.  “The announcement will identify who the lowest bidder is, second lowest bidder and third lowest bidder.  But this does not mean that the lowest bidder actually wins the bid.  We still have to go back to that bidder to see if they accept the conditions of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), if they have any other conditions and questions and negotiate with them further if necessary.  If the lowest bidder doesn’t agree or change their minds, we will discuss with the next lowest bidder,” reported Chairman/CEO Greg Decherong of PPUC.

Decherong expressed that they had been meticulous in the selection process, working with outside advisors, United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Asian Development Bank experts to review all proposals and documents throughout the process.  “They had expertise, the means and the connection to help us review all the bid documents and establish bona fides of the applicants.”

Despite the length of time that has taken this process, Mr. Anthony Rudimch, one of the members of PPUC team on the project said they are actually on schedule.  “According to the project schedule, we can expect to conclude the agreement by June and we are on track,” he added.

After the bid is finalized, it is still required to be approved by Palau Energy Agency (PEA) as well.  They are expecting to finalize and break ground in June or July.

President Remengesau yesterday in his State of the Republic Address reported that PPUC was on the verge of announcing the lowest bidder for the solar power bid project.  He said that Palau was on its way to meet its goal of 45% renewable energy use by year 2025.

This IPP bid is for a 20MWp solar generation, unlike the earlier proposed 35MWp.  “This is what the current grid can handle at this time,” stated Chairman Decherong.

Mr. Anthony Rudimch said that there is still room to grow.  With 25MWp remaining, PPUC was still looking to add more renewable energy to meet the 45% mandate.

Chairman Decherong said the law allows for an unsolicited bidder. “Once we have finalized the bid, we can look at an unsolicited bid and if they meet the requirements and can build and sell at competitive price, we can accept because there is still room to grow.”

Even though the price of oil is at its lowest since before 1973 Oil Crisis, Decherong said that the price of oil will rebound.  “Oil resource is limited and we see even oil producing nations like Saudi Arabia investing in solar plants because they know the supply will eventually dry up.  And we do this too because it is in line with our policies to have clear environment,” asserted Decherong of the need to have solar power producer.

The bid is for solar photovoltaic independent power producer ( solar power company) to build a solar plant to supply power to Palau’s central power grid, provide energy storage systems, ensure grid stability and meet Palau’s projected energy needs, particularly its energy policy of increased use of renewable energy.

The bidder will build, operate and sell power to PPUC for 20 year period at a fix rate. The selected bidder must be able to begin operation within 12 months of signing the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) from PPUC.