DAVAO CITY — The Alcantara Group is going ahead with its 105-megawatt (MW) power plant project in Zamboanga City, with the supply taken up by the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco) for the city’s exclusive use.

A Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative substation — ZAMCELCO.COM.PH

Alcantara Group President Nicasio I. Alcantara told BusinessWorld the dedicated power source will serve growing demand in the city, the economic center of western Mindanao.

“We are optimistic that the plant will serve as a catalyst in growing the economy of Zamboanga City,” Mr. Alcantara said.

The new plant, initially planned five years ago and now targeted for ground-breaking before the end of 2017, will cost about $300 million. It is expected to be completed within the next three years.

The 105-MW coal-fired plant will be backed up by the existing 100-MW diesel-fired facility of the Alsons Power Group’s Western Mindanao Power Corp.

The diesel power plant currently supplies about 50 MW to Zamcelco.

“We need to take advantage of the growing demand for power brought about by new investments,” Mr. Alcantara said.

He added that the group is confident that Zamcelco, which has been operating at a loss, will eventually be able to settle its debts and improve its financial standing with enough power to distribute.

About two years ago, Zamcelco was proposed for privatization as its debt at that time hit about P1.3 billion.

However, two auctions failed after prospective bidders withdrew from the investment and management contract bidding. — Carmelito Q. Francisco