Petilla calls for more peaking plants in Mindanao to address gap in power mix

Nov 23, 2014

by Mike Baños, Editor-at-Large


Energy Secretary Jericho L. Petilla is urging investors to consider putting up more peaking plants in Mindanao to address a perceived gap in the island’s emerging power mix.


In his keynote speech during the blessing and inauguration of the 20MW bunker-fired power plant of Peakpower Socsargen Inc. (PSI) in Bgy. Apopong, General Santos City 20 November 2014, Petilla said although there are many plants coming in he was worried there are not enough peaking plants.


Ribbon Cutting - PSI Pres. Roel Z. Castro, Energy Sec. Jericho Petilla, PSI Chair Dr. Walter W. Brown and Gensan Chamber Pres. Raul Josefino F. Miguel cut the ribbon during the blessing and inauguration of PSI's 20MW bunker fueled peaking plant 20 Nov. 2014 at Bgy. Apopong, General Santos City. (photo by Mike Baños, NPN)


“While there will be many new plants opening soon in Mindanao, most of them are baseload plants,” Petilla explained. “I’d like to encourage more peaking plants because in the end, you cannot just rely on baseload plants. There will never be enough if there is no demand and you’re left with the peaking part hanging.”


He cited the soon to be completed 300MW coal fired power plant of Aboitiz Power Corporation (APC) in Davao City as an example.


“Even if the Aboitiz 300MW coal fired power plant becomes operational, not all of it will be directly injected into the grid because around 140MW has been secured by Davao Light which has not been experiencing brownouts and no urgent need for additional electricity like the cooperatives,” Petilla said.


Thus even if new plants are coming in, he said this is not an assurance there would be a net addition to the capacity available to the Mindanao Grid since most of the new capacities would be tied down by bilateral contracts with industrial utilities and industries.


“In the future we will need many plants across cooperatives because that is the best way to make adjustments when our demand and supply don’t match every now and then,” he said.  “This will also encourage IPPs like Peakpower to set up merchant plants if they like the way the market is behaving.


Ceremonial Switch On: PSI Chair Dr Walter W. Brown, Gensan Chamber Pres. Raul Josefino F. Miguel, NEA Administrator Edith Bueno, Energy Sec. Jericho Petilla, SOCOTECO-II Pres. Elenito Senit and PSI Pres. Roel Z. Castro put their hands together for the ceremonial switch-on of PSI's 20MW bunker fueled peaking plant 20 Nov 2014 at Bgy. Apopong, General Santos City. (photo by Mike Baños, NPN)


The 20.9MW peaking power plant was completed ahead of schedule in only 15 months  by PSI,  a subsidiary of Peakpower Energy Inc., a joint venture of A Brown Company, Inc. (ABCI), Enterprise Holdings Corp., WorldPower Alliance Ltd., and Power Mavens Holdings Ltd.


Under a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) agreement, PSI will supply the peaking power needs of South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (SOCOTECO II) for 15 years in General Santos City, the municipalities of Glan, Malapatan, Alabel, Makungon, Kiamba, Maasim and Maitum in Sarangani and Polomolok and Tupi in South Cotabato.


“This means that the people of Gensan and those within the franchise area of SOCOTECO-II will be able to hopefully have zero brownout this coming Christmas,” said PSI President Roel Z. Castro.

Dr. Walter W. Brown, PSI Chairman, said the plant would provide 20MW of the 120MW peak load of SOCOTECO-II and committed to expand it by an additional 15MW by next year.


In addition, Peakpower is rolling out an additional 50-60MW in the island including a 5MW bunker fueled peaking plant in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur by next month (with an additional 5MW by next year), and another in Bukidnon with the Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative (BUSECO).


“We are currently focusing on serving cooperatives because they are the ones who need power the most,” Dr. Brown said. “We are also open to doing embedded plants for industries but our plate is full at the moment, we want to service those who need it the most. I’d like to serve the people and the coops are the groups that need our support more than any other.”


Also in the pipeline is a 26MW hydroelectric baseload plant under development with partner cooperatives as off-takers through its subsidiary Hydrolink Projects which has already secured a service contract with DOE last year.


“I hope we have more plants like this because this is what we really need in this area of Mindanao because our interconnection to either Leyte or Negros will not happen until 2018 at the earliest,” Petilla said. “I hope we will also have the support of the people of Mindanao for this.”



– I N D N J C –

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