Coal plant goes on full commercial operation

AS THE testing and commissioning stage of the 150-megawatt coal-fired power plant unit two of the Therma South, Inc. (TSI) in Barangay Binugao, Toril was over, the Aboitiz Power declares full commercial operations of Davao baseload power plant starting today, February 2.

The TSI unit two will add another 150-MW (130-MW net) to the Mindanao grid.

“The commercial operations of the Unit 2 could not have come at a better time as Mindanao suffers from power supply problems brought about by El Niño. TSI will provide much needed baseload power for our customers, hopefully contributing to the long term solution of the Mindanao power problem,” TSI president and Chief Operating Officer, Sebastian R. Lacson said in an emailed statement.

The coal plant unit two has been undergoing testing and commissioning for the past several months and “has been delivering on a non-committed basis, commissioning energy to its customers at discounted rates.”

“By declaring full commercial operations of the two units, TSIs customers comprised of 20 electric cooperatives and distribution utilities in the Mindanao region can now receive their full contracted capacity," read the email released to media yesterday by Aboitiz Power.

Meanwhile, last week Davao City had a tight power situation causing Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) to implement three hours of power interruptions within its franchise areas during peak hours.

Engineer Zandro Chad G. Ramos, systems operations manager of DLPC, said that the situation got worse because TSI, announced that last January 23 to 29, they will be undergoing corrective maintenance shutdown for seven days in preparation of the full commercial operations of the power plant.

Meanwhile, it was noted that President Benigno Aquino III led the ceremonial inauguration of the 300-MW power plant last January 8.

Also, TSI earlier declared commercial operations of its first 150-MW (130-MW net) unit last September 18 of last year allowing customers to receive 50 percent of their contracted supply.

The combined 300-MW capacity of the power plant presently supplies a significant portion of the power supply to the cities of Davao, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Zamboanga, Butuan, Kidapawan, Tagum, Koronadal, Digos, Pagadian, and Cotabato among others.

It also supplies power to the Davao Region, Cotabato provinces, Sultan Kudarat, Agusan provinces, Surigao provinces, Zamboanga provinces, parts of Bukidnon, and parts of Misamis.

With the numerous number of coal-fired power plants in Mindanao coming in, various organizations such as the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Kilusang Mayo Un, Pasaka Confederation of Indigenous People in Southern Mindanao, Kadamay and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) including some residents from Sta. Cruz and Binugao, Toril expressed their opposition on the coal fired power plant project.

Bayan Southern Mindanao spokesperson Sheena Duazo said in a report that the coal fired power plant did not address the Mindanao power crisis as there are still series of brown-outs in the area and they demanded that the government should nationalize the power industry so that capitalists won’t have a monopoly over it.

Duazo also expressed that the coal-fired power plant allegedly causes environmental and health concerns detrimental to both people and the environment.

But in responding to the claims of environmentalists, Aboitiz Power maintained that the plant uses modern technology such as the latest circulating fluidized bed (CFB) combustion technology that minimizes emmission, a coal dome storage facility, screw-type ship unloader, electorstatic precipitator (ESP) and continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS) all in its effort to comply with the health and environmental standards. (ASP with RCP)

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