Cusi prods ERC on 500-MW San Buenaventura power plant

By Lenie Lectura -September 20, 2019
from Business Mirror

DOE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi

ENERGY Secretary Alfonso Cusi has flagged to the Energy Regulatory Commission the importance of the 500-megawatt (MW) San Buenaventura coal-fired power plant, the commercial operation date (COD) of which was pushed back because the ERC has yet to issue a permit.

“I wrote ERC and I manifested to ERC the importance of it being online because that supply is necessary to augment the present supply of the country. The ERC needs to act on it,” said Cusi.

The country’s first coal-fired power plant to use supercritical technology is being undertaken by San Buenaventura Power Ltd. (SBPL), a partnership between Meralco PowerGen Corp. (MGen) and New Growth BV, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Electricity Generating Public Co. Ltd. (Egco Group) of Thailand.

The P56.2-billion plant in Mauban, Quezon, was earlier tracking COD on September 15. According to Meralco President Ray Espinosa, the ERC has not yet issued its certificate of compliance (COC).

The Meralco official said the ERC raised questions on the water rights accorded by the National Water Resources Board (NWRB). Espinosa said the Department of Energy has been informed about this together with the other power plants scheduled for maintenance shutdown next month. Hence, a possible tight supply in October.

Cusi said he does not know what caused the delay, but said the ERC was not able to include SBPL’s COC in the agenda during a meeting. “It was not included in the hearing last time. I think it was included yesterday or will be included soon….  I just emphasized the importance of that supply. It needs to be acted upon.”

The SBPL power plant will play a crucial role as electricity demand grows, especially in Luzon which accounts for about 70 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

The electricity to be generated by the plant will be sold to Meralco, the country’s largest distribution utility, under a 20-year power supply agreement.

Next month, Ilijan unit 1 (600 MW) will be on scheduled maintenance shutdown on October 3 to 15. The same plant will also produce less capacity from October 16 to 18.

Other power plants on scheduled shutdown next month are the 20-year old Sual 2 (600 MW), from October 19 to November 17; San Lorenzo Module 50 (250 MW), from October 26 to 30.

The Malampaya gas facility, meanwhile, will not be able to supply Meralco from October 12 to 15 because it will also undergo maintenance shutdown for four days.

The Malampaya natural gas facility supplies 40 percent of Meralco’s requirement.

The gas facility fuels the following gas plants: the 1,000-MW Santa Rita, the 500-MW San Lorenzo, the 1,200-MW Ilijan, 97-MW Avion and the 414-MW San Gabriel.