GLOBAL Business Power Corp. is spending at least US$600 million this year to complete the construction of its two coal fired power projects in the country.

Jesus Alcordo, president of Global Business, said the two projects has a total cost of US$880 million and includes the 246 megawatts coal plant in Toledo City in Cebu and the 164 MW coal plant in Iloilo City.

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“For 2010, Global Power still needs to spend about $600 million to complete the projects. It is worth noting that the Cebu project is the single largest locally syndicated peso-denominated 12-year project loan facility at over P16 billion. In June 2009, eleven banks signed a loan agreement with Cebu Energy Development Corporation for the project,” Alcordo said.

He said the Iloilo project, under Panay Energy Development Corporation, will need a financing of up to P14 billion presently being arranged with local banks.

The loan agreement for the Panay coal project is expected to be signed early this year, according to Alcordo.

“We looked at peso financing for both projects to ensure more stable operations and management expenses over time and to ensure a more stable and competitive energy rate for our clients and partners,” he said.

Global Business Power is a unit of the Metrobank Group.

Alcordo said the two facilities in the Visayas will use the Circulating Fluidized Bed boiler technology to ensure minimal emissions and waste and hopes to address the need for additional baseload power in the Cebu-Negros-Panay Grid.

“All in all, we’re looking at 410 megawatts of new or added capacity for the CNP Grid that would significantly stabilize grid voltage and also serve to further propel the economic growth in these islands, particularly in Cebu and in Panay.2010 is expectedly going to be quite a dynamic year for Global Power.”

The company started the construction of the 3x 82 MW Toledo in 2008.

“We are on schedule and the first unit will be online and synchronized to the Grid by the first quarter of 2010. The second unit is expected to be online by June and the last unit by end year to make the power plant fully operational by the end of 2010,” Alcordo said.

The 2 x 82 MW Panay project meanwhile started the construction on the third quarter of 2009 and first unit is expected to be commercially operational this October while the second unit will come on stream by January 2011.

“The timely completion of the two power plants is in line with our commitment to immediately address the worsening power crisis in the Visayas,” Alcordo said.

Meantime, Alcordo said the company has no plans to bid for the generating assets of state-run National Power Corp. (Napocor) since they wanted to concentrate on their expansion plans.

“We would like to focus on our ongoing expansion projects. Global Power is keenly focused on building additional base load capacities where they are urgently needed. At present, the CNP grid is highly dependent on imported power coming from Leyte Geothermal. The increasing power demand in these islands can no longer be supplied by existing power generating units. It is for this reason that Global Power decided to build its new plants with the objective of not only addressing the current worsening power crisis in Cebu and in Panay but also improving the reliability and stability of power within the Visayas grid,” Alcordo said. (MSN/Sunnex)