Alsons looks at Leyte and Samar in Visayas for growth

By Lenie Lectura – May 24, 2018
from Business Mirror

ALSONS Consolidated Resources Inc. (ACR) is looking at business opportunities in the Visayas, particularly in light of the economic recovery of the Eastern Visayan provinces of Leyte and Samar, where demand for power is anticipated to grow.

“This presents to us a possible market, particularly for our diesel capacity,” ACR EVP and COO Tirso Santillan Jr. said. He added the company would have to put up diesel power facilities, mainly to support ancillary services in the Visayas.

“After an oversupply in Mindanao, they see the need for ancillary services in the Visayas. Diesel is the best provider of ancillary services. So we are looking at that opportunity,” Santillan said. He did not say the capacity of the diesel plants that it plans to build, but the market of each distribution utility is around 20 megawatts (MW) to 30 MW.

ACR has outlined its strategy for dealing with the current excess-power capacity situation in Mindanao brought about by the sudden influx of baseload coal-fired power plants, which started to come online in 2015.

Santillan said the company had already secured power-sales agreements (PSAs) for its currently operating and prospective baseload coal-fired power plants during the period of shortage long before many of the new baseload plants even began construction. This timely conclusion of PSAs with off-takers allowed ACR to commence operating the first section of its 210-MW Sarangani Energy Corp. (SEC) base-load plant with all of its capacity fully contracted.

Both the second section of the SEC plant, which will be operating in the first half of 2019, and ACR’s San Ramon Power Inc. (SRPI) baseload plant in Zamboanga City, set to begin operating in 2021, have more than 80 percent of their capacity contracted.

Another component of ACR’s strategy is to pursue run-of-river hydroelectric power projects in key areas. Santillan reported the P 3.7-billion 15-MW Siguil run-of-river hydropower plant in Maasim, Sarangani—ACR’s first foray into renewable energy—is on track to start commercial operations in 2020.  Aside from Siguil, ACR has identified and intends to develop specific sites in Mindanao and Negros Occidental with a hydro potential totaling around 200 MW.  

The company, chairman and president Thomas Alcantara said, has reserved a 25-percent equity stake for Toyota Tsusho Corp. to invest in its 15-MW Siguil River basin in Maasim, Sarangani Province.

“They are waiting for us to make the proposal. Once we secure and compete the package – technical, marketing and financing – we will propose it. It should happen in the third quarter,” he said.

The Siguil hydropower plant is expected to begin commercial operations within the first half of 2020 and will provide power to Sarangani Province, General Santos City and key municipalities of South Cotabato.

ACR currently operates four power facilities in Mindanao generating a combined capacity of 363 MW serving over eight million people in 13 cities and 8 provinces including key urban centers such as Davao City, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Iligan, and Zamboanga City.