ABOITIZ POWER Corp. (AboitizPower) is looking to increase the capacity of its plant in Cebu through liquefied natural gas (LNG) or by expanding its coal assets, the company’s top official said.

Emmanuel V. Rubio, president and chief executive officer of AboitizPower, said the company is considering a baseload capacity of about 150 megawatts (MW) through LNG to add to the current 300 MW in Therma Visayas, Inc. (TVI), the operator of the 340 MW coal-fired power plant located in Toledo City, Cebu.

“We are looking at LNG at 150 MW, looking at what’s going to cost, and what if we actually expand TVI with another unit of coal, and compare the cost,” Mr. Rubio told reporters on the sidelines of a climate change and disaster resilience forum last week.

The company is also considering expanding its coal assets in Cebu as an option as it is not covered by the coal moratorium, he said. The government imposed a moratorium on the construction of new coal-fired power plants in 2020.

“Certainly, it is outside the moratorium because it has an ECC (environmental compliance certificate). It has all the permits so that we can actually build it if we want to. But we don’t just want to build it. We just want to make sure that we justify it if we’re going to use that option,” he said.

The company expects to add these capacities by 2026 to 2027, Mr. Rubio said, adding that availability of line transmission from Mindanao plays a crucial role in this plan.

“It’s not that power is not available. It’s that expensive plants are running, so they need to be displaced by cheaper technologies. I don’t think there is really available renewable energy resource in Cebu. It’s hilly, crowded, so the availability of solar is limited,” he said.

“We have been presenting this to the DoE (Department of Energy). This is LNG, this is coal. How do you want us to proceed? At the end of the day, we really have to balance everything, and we need to provide the most optimum solution,” Mr. Rubio added. — A.E.O. Jose