Meralco ‘still hopeful’ on Atimonan plant nod

By Jordeene Sheex Lagare – May 31, 2018
from The Manila Times

MANILA Electric Co. (Meralco) is hoping the government will finally decide on the fate of its Atimonan power plant in Quezon as everything is all set for its construction, a top company official said.

“We’re still very hopeful the government will look at this considering the fact that everything is in place,” Meralco PowerGen Corp. President Rogelio Singson told a briefing.

Singson noted that the 2×600-megawatt (MW) ultra super critical coal-fired power plant in Atimonan, which was given a pioneer status by the Board of Investments (BoI) as the first ultra supercritical power plant project in the country, is “way much, much better than the current coal plants.”

Earlier this month, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the Atimonan facility was set to be affirmed as an energy project of national significance (EPNS).

However, Cusi explained they put on hold the issuance of a certification for the project due to questions about the power supply agreement (PSA) between Atimonan One Energy, Inc. (A1E) and Meralco. A1E is a subsidiary of Meralco PowerGen.

“[I]t might be misconstrued as my agreement to the PSA,” Cusi said, referring to the certification.

“We’ll have to look at the implications of the Swiss challenge because you’ve gone through the entire process
already… We’ll also have to see what’s going to be the impact on financing, on EPC [engineering, procurement, and construction contract],” Meralco President Oscar Reyes said.

Singson said Meralco PowerGen is looking for another technology for the 2×300-MW circulating fluidized bed (CFB) coal-fired power plant of Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc. (RP Energy) in Subic, Zambales.

RP Energy is a joint venture of Meralco PowerGen Corp. with Therma Power, Inc., a wholly-owned unit of AboitizPower Corp.; and Taiwan Cogeneration International Corp.—Philippine Branch.

“We’re looking for another technology because the facility is still CFB, meaning subcritical, and we feel there will be more efficient technologies already… If you recall this project has been moving from one technology to another,” he added.

Singson said the company is in discussions with other parties.

Earlier, RP Energy said in a statement it sent a letter of contract termination to its EPC contractors, South Korean company Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Co. Ltd and local firm Azul Torre Construction Inc.

“The validity of the EPC price expired at the end of December 2017 because RP Energy was not able to issue a Notice-To-Proceed to Doosan without the PSA approval from the ERC [Energy Regulatory Commission],” it added.

Singson said Doosan sent them a new proposal which could make the planned coal facility economically unviable as the cost was “substantially” higher.

Meanwhile, Singson said they are ready to commission the 455-MW coal-fired power plant of San Buenaventura Power Ltd. Co. in Mauban, Quezon by next year as they have already cleared the hurdles for the project.

‘We are confident we’ve been able to settle most of the problems that we’re having with [the]LGU [local government unit], with the EPC contractor, that could have potentially delayed the project,” Singson said.
Meralco PowerGen is the power generation arm of Meralco.