AC Energy coal-fired plant named ‘energy project of national significance’

By Lenie Lectura – March 29, 2019
from Business Mirror

THE coal plant of AC Energy Inc. in Mindanao has been included in the list of Energy Projects of National Significance (EPNS).

As of March 25, the EPNS list of the Department of Energy (DOE) has included GN Power Kausawagan Ltd. Co.’s (GNPK) 4×138 megawatt (MW) clean coal-fired power plant.

The EPNS certificate was issued on March 13.

GN Power Kauswagan is a subsidiary of AC Energy in partnership with the Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure Fund and Power Partners. AC Energy’s economic stake in GN Power Kauswagan is 85 percent.

The construction of the plant is in full swing. The plant’s contracted capacity is about 80 percent to date.

The 552-MW plant will operate as a baseload plant to support the power demand and economic development of Mindanao. Unit 1 is scheduled for commercial operation anytime soon, targeted within the first quarter of the year, while units 2-4 will commence thereafter.

“This is a welcome development, especially since the plant is critical for the Mindanao-Visayas transmission link,” AC Energy President Eric Francia said.

Last year, Francia said the power facility was for sale and that the company was engaged last year in discussions with interested parties. A deal, he said then, could materialize in the next few months.

Today, Francia said there is no decision yet if AC Energy will opt for a partnership or sell the power asset.

“Some of the investors have expressed interest to partner with us still at a platform level, but some investors expressed interest to have a path to control, ultimately buy out everything,” Francia had said.

Some parties who aired their interest in the GNPK facility included San Miguel Corp. (SMC) and Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).

“We heard about that. We’re trying to get data. What I am told, it is a coal project. It seems to be almost finished, so it’s ready for operation. So, it looks interesting because we don’t have to wait for all sorts of approval. We will probably take a look at it,” Meralco Chairman Manuel Pangilinan said last year.

The power facility, the Meralco official said, would boost the power capacity in Mindanao, which still lacks supply, contrary to what others observed that there is oversupply of power in Mindanao.

“It doesn’t seem that way from the ground. My impression is that the area continues to suffer from brownouts. So, we will take a look at it,” Pangilinan said.

Should Pangilinan’s group decide to push through with its interest in AC Energy’s GN Power Kauswagan plant, this will most likely cement its power-generation portfolio fortress across grids.

“We have one power plant operating in Saranggani. We have a 50:50 share there. I think there’s a second plant being built. There’s a third plant supposed to be built in Zamboanga City, depending on distribution with the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative,” he said.

Global Business Power Corp. (GBP), controlled by Pangilinan’s Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), took in a 50-percent stake in Alsons Consolidated Resources Inc. (ACR).

GBP’s power projects are situated in the Visayas, while the Alcantara-led ACR is dominant in Mindanao.

Meralco PowerGen Corp., the power-generation arm of Meralco, is pursuing a number of power projects in Luzon.