Corporate News

Capacity expansion planned for power plant

Posted on December 10, 2013

DAVAO CITY -- Aboitiz Power Corp. (AboitizPower) has asked the city government to allow it to more than double the capacity of the 300-megawatt (MW) plant the former is now building here.

In a presentation before the city council last Dec. 2, Manuel M. Orig, AboitizPower first vice-president, justified the proposed increase in capacity to 645 MW, saying this will “help ensure that Davao and Mindanao will have adequate supply to support its continued development and growth.”

Planned expansion, which is about half the current capacity of the Mindanao grid, is expected particularly to boost Davao Region’s power supply which currently approaches a third of the grid’s capacity.

AboitizPower’s coal-fired plant, to be operated by subsidiary Therma South, Inc., will start commercial operation of its first phase of 300 MW in 2015.

The plant is being built at this city’s boundary with the town of Sta. Cruz in Davao del Sur.

Department of Energy data show the Mindanao grid has installed capacity of 2,049.3 MW, but dependable capacity is only 79% or at 1,614.4 MW.

Of total installed capacity, about half -- 1,047 MW -- comes from government-run hydroelectric facilities of the National Power Corp. whose dependable capacity is placed at just over 70%.

In the case of the city’s distribution utility, the Davao Light and Power Co. has a power requirement of 389 MW in its franchise area, but can source just 330 MW, yielding a 59-MW shortfall.

The increase in power requirement will come mostly from new investments of three big companies -- Steel Asia Manufacturing Corp.; port operator San Vicente Terminal & Brokerage Services, Inc. of ANFLO Management & Investment Corp.; and Holcim Philippines, Inc. -- which will need a total of at least 32 MW.

Arturo M. Milan, vice-president of AboitizPower subsidiary Davao Light & Power Corp., said separately that, by 2018, the company still expects to have a shortfall even if it will have already signed a 100-MW service contract agreement with Therma South in 2015.

“This clearly means that substantial additional capacity is still needed to fully supply Mindanao’s continued development and growth and to save Mindanaons from further experiencing debilitating brownouts,” Mr. Orig added.

The Web site of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines yesterday showed Mindanao with estimated system capacity of 1,402 MW and system peak of 1,376 MW, leaving thin reserves of 26 MW.

Mr. Orig also defended the project from criticisms of environmental groups who claimed that coal-fired power plants are both hazardous to environment as well as to people. “There are now modern technologies available to control and manage emissions to the atmosphere, discharge to bodies of water, and disposal of waste of coal-fired power plants,” he said. -- C. Q. Francisco

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