by Myrna Velasco, 06 April 2015
from Manila Bulletin
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has approved the Lopez group’s bid for interim connection of its greenfield 100-megawatt Avion power plant which it targets to advance to commercial commissioning June this year.
The ‘temporary grid connection’ will prevail as a point-to-point connection for the plant’s capacity wheeling – and will just cease to be when the 414-megawatt San Gabriel gas plant of First Gen Corporation will come on-line next year.
“The application filed by PMPC (Prime Meridian Powergen Corporation) for the authority to develop, own and operate a dedicated point-to-point limited facility to connect to the existing switchyard of the SR (Santa Rita) power plant is hereby approved,” the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has stipulated in its ruling.
PMPC is the project vehicle for the Avion plant which was designed to have capacity of 90 to 115MW. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of First Gen of the Lopez group. The company noted that it will be investing P291.45 million for the connection assets intended for the plant’s full capacity’s delivery to the power grid.
As propounded, the Avion plant will be connected to the transmission system of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) via the existing Santa Rita switchyard as an interim connection. “It is technically feasible to connect the 2x 75.5MW Avion plant to the Santa Rita 230-kilovolt substation and would not require any grid reinforcement in Batangas based on the considered connection timeline of the additional generation capacity in the area,” PMPC has noted.
It was further averred that the plant “will be ultimately connected to the SL (San Lorenzo) switchyard once the additional 434MW San Gabriel gas plant being constructed by First NatGas Power Corporation is connected to the SL switchyard” – which by then shall be referred to as “the final connection.” This is targeted for implementation next year.
“The interim connection and final connection were determined to be the suitable connection schemes based on the system impact study conducted by NGCP,” PMPC has emphasized in its filing with the ERC. The regulatory ruling, however, has proffered that during the interim connection, the operational control of the Santa Rita plant switchyard “shall be transferred to NGCP.”
It has been emphasized that “once the connection becomes final as proposed, the Santa Rita switchyard will remain as a connection asset to Santa Rita while the San Lorenzo switchyard will be transferred to NGCP/TransCo (National Transmission Corporation).”
The Avion plant is being counted upon by the government as capacity shoring up for Luzon grid on the anticipated critical months this year until 2016 or until such time that enough capacity additions are set on stream.