MGI’s Sto. Tomas plant begins exporting power to Luzon grid

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THE SECOND UNIT of Maibarara Geothermal, Inc. (MGI) has started exporting power to the Luzon grid on Friday, its listed parent firm told the stock exchange.

MGI’s facility in Sto. Tomas, Batangas is its second geothermal unit (M2) with a capacity of 12 megawatts (MW).

“M2 was put online at 12:04 p.m. on March 9, marking as well its first export of power to the Luzon grid. After its synchronization to the grid, the M2 unit is currently undergoing a series of capability and reliability tests,” said Paul Elmer C. Morala, MGI power plant manager.

During the tests, the Energy Regulatory Commission will conduct a technical inspection as part of its requirements for the issuance of a certificate of compliance. The certificate is proof that a power plant complies with the applicable regulations, making it safe to switch on and operate.

“Commercial operations of M2 will follow with the [certificate of compliance] award,” Mr. Morala said.

MGI is a joint venture of PetroGreen Energy Corp., with a 65% stake, Phinma Energy Corp. (25%), and state-led PNOC Renewables Corp. (10%). PetroGreen is the renewable energy holding unit of publicly listed PetroEnergy Resources Corp.

MGI President Francisco G. Delfin, Jr. said M2 is the first geothermal facility to be put up under the current administration and “the only geothermal power plant installed in the country since 2014.”

“MGI began construction of the facility in March 2016, employing several local construction companies but retaining Fuji Electric of Japan as the supplier of the plant’s turbine-generator and other major equipment. This capacity expansion will also provide additional royalties and taxes to the national and host local governments,” he said.

In December last year, PetroEnergy said its geothermal power unit had secured approval to participate in the wholesale electricity spot market, paving the way for its commercial operation.

Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC), which operates the spot market, gave its nod on Dec. 7, 2017 for MGI, which sought the registration of its facility expansion. PEMC earlier included M2 in its market network model, allowing the facility’s dispatch to be accurately monitored in the spot market.

PetroGreen President Milagros V. Reyes said M2 is the fourth power generating plant completed by the company and put online in four years.

“It marks the second wave of our judicious investment and operation in the renewable energy sector following the first wave with the 20 MW Maibarara-1 unit in February 2014, the 36 MW Nabas-1 wind farm in June 2015, and the 50 MW Tarlac-1 solar facility in February 2016,” she said.

“This second wave of investment, that will also see the expansion of our Nabas and Tarlac facilities and new greenfield projects, have to be even more deliberate, considering the challenges in securing new offtake contracts and more importantly the uncertainty in some government energy policies and direction,” she added.

On Monday, shares in PetroEnergy closed lower by 0.20% at P5.03 each. — Victor V. Saulon