by Myrna Velasco, February 2, 2015
from Manila Bulletin
Mindanao’s brownout predicaments are becoming certain to be over this year, as another power plant project is now advancing to commissioning phase – the 105 megawatt first phase of the Sarangani coal-fired power project of the Alcantara group.
In a statement to the media, the project developer firm Sarangani Energy Corporation (SEC) has announced that the power facility is now 89-percent complete “and will begin commissioning within the first half of this year.”
The company expounded that its full commercial operations will be October this year; while the next phase of another 105MW capacity will be set on stream fourth quarter next year.
The two-phased power plant venture commanded an investment of $570 million – considerably the single largest investment that was so far injected into the province of Sarangani and Region 12.
Mindanao had long been embroiled in ‘literal darkness’, especially during the summer months when its demand would hit peak and its main source of power – the hydro plants – could be cyclically pared on its level of generation.
It had been the prudent decision of power project developers in the area then – to not just plug capacity gap but also diversify on their technology options to address the weather-induced intermittency of hydro power generation.
The Sarangani plant, it was emphasized, had been “one of the first new base load power plants to operate this year, and is seen to help provide a sustainable and lasting solution to the four-year-old Mindanao power shortage.”
According to SEC of the Alsons Power Group, “the plant’s initial output of 105MW will provide power for roughly 3.47 million residents” in Sarangani province, General Santos and Iligan cities as well as for the key areas in South Cotabato, Compostela Valley, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur and Davao del Norte.
It added that “another 3.8 million residents of Cotabato, South Cotabato and Zamboanga del Norte will also benefit from the project once it runs its full 210MW capacity in 2016.”
The Alcantara group had been among the unflinching investors who responded to the government’s call for fresh power investments in Mindanao – braving initial opposition from some sectors primarily on their technology proposition.