THE country’s first coal-fired power plant to use supercritical technology is on track for commercial operation next month. Meralco PowerGen (MGen) President Rogelio Singson said the 455-megawatt (MW) supercritical coal-fired power plant in Mauban, Quezon of San Buenaventura Power Ltd. (SBPL) is at 99.79-percent EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) accomplishment.
‘We are still on COD [commercial operation date] target of September 15 or sooner for the SBPL. Now, the plant is on full load operations, meaning it is operating at 500 MW. ‘In the next few days we are doing some performance tests with NGCP, as well as reliability tests before we are able to finally commission and say the plant is fully operational and we expect that to happen on or before September 15 this year,’ said Singson.
MGen, the power-generation arm of Meralco, expects full positive results by end 2020. ‘We are still hopeful that we can commission this sooner than the target schedule. So far, everything looks good; happy with our EPC contractor and happy with support given to us by our partner in the project,’ added Singson.
SBPL is a partnership between MGen and New Growth BV, a wholly owned subsidiary of Electricity Generating Public Co. Ltd. (EGCO Group) of Thailand.
The electricity to be generated by the P56.2-billion plant will be sold to Meralco, the country’s largest distribution utility, under a 20-year power-supply agreement. This project would bring in additional revenues to Meralco in 2020.
The plant’s capacity and energy are contracted to Meralco, pursuant to a 20-year power-supply agreement which is extendable for up to an additional five years. The SBPL power plant will play a crucial role as electricity demand grows, especially in Luzon which accounts for about 70 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
‘Power generation will be our game changer. We are looking forward to September this year when Meralco finally reenters baseload power generation and can better assure customers in its strategic franchise area adequate, reliable and affordable power supply after our 455-MW SBPL coal plant comes on stream,’ said Singson. The company tapped the consortium of Daelim Industrial Co. Ltd. and Mitsubishi Corp. as the EPC contractor for the project. SBPL achieved financial close for the power project in December 2015 for a total debt of P42.1 billion.