Accident won't affect approval of proposed coal plant expansion

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Friday, January 10, 2014


A TRAGIC accident that happened at the construction site of the P25-billion coal-fired power plant in Binugao, Toril will not in a way affect the approval of its proposed expansion, according to an executive of Therma South Inc., a subsidiary of the Aboitiz Power Corp.,

In December 2013, Aboitiz Power presented their proposal before the Davao City Council to increase the plant's capacity from 300-megawatt (MW) to 645 MW and asking for their endorsement while ensuring the company's responsibility on "environment protection."

In a press briefing on Thursday at Villa Margarita, TSI first vice president Bobby M. Orig said the accident has nothing to do with the endorsement or approval of the proposed expansion.

"It has nothing to do with the expansion because as far as the expansion is concerned that is already programmed and there is a demand that we have to meet," he said.

Orig said they want to begin the expansion as soon as possible once the proposal is endorsed and approved.

"The reason why we want the expansion is so that Mindanao will not repeat the mistakes of the past wherein it failed to build power plants to meet the demands," he said.

Orig said if the expansion is approved, they will pouring in another P15-billion for the first 165 MW of the additional 345 MW expansion.

Construction began early 2012 and despite the accident, the construction of the coal plant is still on schedule to be finished by 2015.

"The first 150MW will begin its commercial operations on the first quarter of 2015 while the other 150MW on the second quarter," Orig said.

The plant will provide electricity to distribution utilities in the island including Davao Light and Power Corp., Davao del Sur Electric Cooperative Inc., and Davao Oriental Electric Cooperative Inc., to name a few, once its operations begins.

Last January 6, assistant site manager Sha Hong Bingm, 39 and a Chinese national, encountered an accident in Boiler No. 2 while supervising the construction of the cite. He died after he was accidentally hit on the face by a pulley block when it broke. Sha was a contractor of Nantong-Dragon, the sub contractor of True North.

The accident, being the first major accident after more than six million man hours, caused the suspension of the construction of Boiler No. 2. They expect the suspension to last less than a week after safety requirements are complied.

The construction site currently employs around 2,500 workers. TSI has contracted Australia-based contractor Black & Veatch Leighton Consortium (BVL) and Chinese contractor True North to oversee the construction of the plant.

At present, True North and Nantong Dragon's operations in the site were suspended following the accident.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 11, 2014.

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