Fri. Nov 15th, 2019

Senate action baffles Engie EPS, decides to visit Palau

From left to right, Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) Chairman Gregorio Decherong,  Public Infrastructure, Industries and Commerce Minister Charles Obichang, and Engie EPS Chief Executive Officer Carlalberto Guglielminotti signing the Power Purchase Agreement. (File Photo)

Perplexed by the news that the Palau Senate had voted no to the resolution that would ratify the amended and restated Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the renewable energy project, executives from Engie EPS will be coming to Palau on December 17 to personally learn about the situation.

President Tommy Remengesau, Jr., during a press conference on Wednesday, December 12, said that Engie EPS was already set to begin construction of the renewable energy project that was supposed to be implemented with the ratification of the PPA but they were left wondering what was going on when they heard about the news.

“When they (Engie EPS) heard the news that the Senate has already killed it, they want to come here and know ‘what is going on? Why were we under the impression that we were moving forward? What does this Senate action mean?’” Remengesau said.

The renewable energy project called “Armonia”, which is Italian word for harmony, was widely advertised to be “iconic” as it is deemed to meet Palau’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) of generating 45% renewable energy under the Paris Agreement even ahead of the 2025 target.

Palau’s Senate previously voted no against the resolution to ratify the agreement after seeing many concerns in the deal.

Remengesau reiterated that the issues that the Senate brought up were already discussed as part of the negotiating process from the beginning.

“As I mentioned, they (Engie EPS) are the very reason why the price (power rate) is low because we are saving the company expenses from renting, paying tax and therefore, we can afford to bring down the price, that is why the price in Palau is going to be the lowest in the Pacific,” Remengesau said, adding that with the PPA, there will be no inflation rate.

In our previous report, it was stated that the Senate was not convinced by the same premise as they believed that Palau should get a lower rate especially that market indicators showed that price for generation of solar energy in the coming years will be dropping.

Remengesau also said that they will be telling the Engie that it was only the resolution that died but every branch of the government, including the people, would like to see the country achieve its target.

“We’ll work in every way we can in order to make this happen unless somebody comes out and say this is the worst deal that Palau can make,” Remengesau said.

Engie EPS is a France-based company that previously signed contract with Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) for the implementation of the renewable energy project. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)