Mindanao’s biggest coal plant to end grid’s brownout woes

by Myrna Velasco – September 6, 2016

from Manila Bulletin

The completion of the 405-megawatt coal-fired power project of FDC Utilities, Inc. of the Filinvest Group is now advancing to full commercial operation, and such will effectively and symbolically end Mindanao’s predicament of prolonged power interruptions.

The developer-firm FDC Utilities Inc. (FDCUI) has apprised media last week that the second unit of 135MW capacity was already synchronized to the grid.

The project, so far, is the biggest to help meet the immediate to long-term power supply needs of the grid. It has three units with 135MW capacity each.

As qualified by Filinvest Development Corporation Chairman Jonathan Gotianun, the Mindanao coal plant “is the biggest investment we have made among the numerous ventures we have undertaken in the region.” Its other investment areas are in real estate, banking and Mindanao’s sugar industry.

According to the project sponsor-firm, the third unit of another 135MW capacity is up for grid synchronization within the first half of this month.

Mindanao suffered years of rotating brownouts before investors came in to plug lingering supply deficiency in the grid. FDCUI had been among the companies that responded to government’s call for fresh power investments in the area.

According to FDCUI President and Chief Operating Officer Mario Pangilinan, the plant is already contributing roughly 200 megawatts to Mindanao grid’s supply.

“So far, the commissioning test has been running smoothly and we expect to attain the full capacity of 405MW by this month,” he said.

Ambrocio Rosales, Officer-in-Charge Head of Mindanao System Operations of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) noted that the operation of the FDC Misamis power project “will greatly boost supply security in the Mindanao region.”

He qualified that this is not only due to its massive capacity but because of its “strategic connection to the grid,” with the system operator promising more reliable and higher power quality service moving forward.

Pangilinan further emphasized that the newly commissioned facility will also diversify to a greater degree the power source of Mindanao, which had relied traditionally on the cyclical operations of the Agus-Pulangui hydropower complex.