SMC Global Power willing to assist government provide cheaper power to Bataan

By Lenie Lectura – January 25, 2017

from Business Mirror

SMC Global Power Holdings Corp. is willing to assist the government provide cheaper power to be sourced from its newly built power plant in Limay, Bataan, during the 20-day shutdown of the Malampaya natural-gas facility.

Makakatulong kami kahit during the Malampaya shutdown, kasi nagpo-produce na ng 150 megawatts [MW] ang Unit 1,” said SMC President Ramon Ang, when asked to comment on an earlier pronouncement of the Department of Energy (DOE) that the commercial operation of the Limay plant should be done earlier.

The government is finding ways to avert a power-supply shortage when the gas facility, which provides around 40 percent of the Manila Electric Co.’s (Meralco) supply requirements, goes offline starting January 28.

The first 150-MW unit of the Limay circulating fluidized bed (CFB) coal facility is currently undergoing commissioning, with target commercial operation in May this year, Ang said.

The second unit, producing another 150 MW, is scheduled for commercial operation three months after. The third and fourth units, each with a capacity of 150 MW, are targeted for commercial operations in 2018.   The plant will operate using clean-coal technology.  Unit 1, while on commissioning phase, uses diesel, which is more expensive than coal by at least P5 per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

Ang said the company is willing to subsidize the difference.

Tumatakbo na ang Unit 1, pero mas mahal kasi ginagamitan ng diesel. But we will help the grid to make sure hindi magkakaroon ng shortage. Okay lang iyon; pagbibigyan na namin iyon,” he said, when asked if the company would sell it at a lower price.

SMC’s coal-power plants are sold at an average of P3 per kWh. Meanwhile, the output of a plant using diesel is sold at an average of between P8 and P9 per kWh.

Ang also said the Ilijan power plant, which feeds gas from the Malampaya facility, would run on diesel during the 20-day shutdown ending February 16.

“Ilijan will continue to operate using diesel, so we can help the government,” he said. Aside from Ilijan, the Malampaya gas field currently supplies natural gas to the 1,000-MW Santa Rita and the 500-MW San Lorenzo plants of the Lopez group.

Ang added the Limay plant strictly follows environmental rules set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“Our facility is one of the cleanest in the country, that I can assure you. Limay is not yet running on coal, but on diesel. So, how can ash come from us?” Ang said.

The mayor of Limay, Bataan, alleged there were “environmental issues and problems posed by the oil spill at the Bataan Thermal Power Plant [BTPP]/Pan Asia area; oil spill near the mouth of the Alangan River; and the ash dump near the Petron Limay Terminal [PLT] area.”

The company was issued notices of violation on December 28, 2016, and January 6, 2017, by the Environmental Management Bureau for ash that had allegedly polluted a waterway. Ang said the oil-spill incident at the BTPP occurred in July last year and was caused by a former employee of the contractor by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

“The spill is 5 kilometers away from the Petron facility. The mayor of Limay wrote nine letters blaming us for the spill. Why blame us when the BTPP is owned by the NPC [National Power Corp.], and the pipeline was damaged by the DPWH,” Ang said.

On ash dump near the mouth of the Alangan River, Ang said this incident could not be blamed on Petron’s refinery facility in the area, because it is 2 kilometers away from the river.

“The issue of scattered ash near the river is not true. The bottom ash will be brought to the cement plant as raw mix. Lahat ng plant na CFB walang generated bottom ash at fly ash dahil needed sa cement plants,” Ang said.

Based on a report from the provincial health office, the reported skin diseases of residents are actually scabies, which is in no way connected to exposure to ash.

“We have 1,200 workers there, but none of them have serious health problems or sickness similar to what some allegedly complained about,” Ang said.

He appealed to those spreading false accusations to just “hear Mass” and “hopefully not commit wrongdoings.”