Semirara open to develop mine-mouth power plant

By Lenie Lectura – August 16, 2017

from Business Mirror

SEMIRARA Mining and Power Corp. (SMPC) formally signified interest with the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a 50-megawatt (MW) mine-mouth power plant in the province of Antique.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, SMPC President and CEO Victor A. Consunji and SMPC Chairman and CEO Isidro Consunji signed on August 14 a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the said project.

The DOE will endorse the power project as an Energy Project of National Significance under Executive Order 30 issued by President Duterte in June. The project will form part of the annually updated Philippine Energy Plan and Power Development Plan. “We assisted the development of a mine-mouth coal-fired power plant, or a power plant using indigenous coal as fuel to address the growth in the baseload demand and required reserves of Semirara Island along with the other neighboring islands and provinces,” Cusi said during the MOU signing event.

The signing was witnessed by National Power Corp. President Pio J. Benavidez, National Transmission Corp. (Transco) President Melvin Matibag, Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative General Manager Patrocinio M. Panagsagan Jr. and Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative General Manager Alfred A. Dantis.

Transco will construct the transmission lines.

In 1977 the DOE issued the Coal Operating Contract 5 to SMPC for a coal-mining project in Semirara Island in the Municipality of Caluya, Antique.

Cusi said the mine-mouth power project will provide reliable and affordable power to Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque and Romblon, and even Palawan.

“What we are doing is creating solutions for our perennial energy problems in the island provinces,” Cusi said.

According to the DOE, mine-mouth power plants are built close to a coal mine where the coal is excavated from the dig site, placed on a conveyor belt and fed directly into the plant.

Based on a study, cowritten by Arnulfo Robles, there are at least 10 potential sites for mine-mouth coal plants in the country. The cost of generating electricity can range between P2.61 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) and P4.45 per kwh compared to the average price of coal generation in 2014 at P5.425 per kwh.

“With mine mouth, we’re trying to remove the transport cost,” Robles, Philippine Chamber of Coal Mines Inc. executive director, was quoted by the DOE as saying. “If the plant is separate from the mine site, there’s handling that will add up to the cost of coal. If you put up the plant near or adjacent to the mine site, you remove that cost.”