AboitizPower close to awarding contract for coal power expansion in Toledo

Business.(Business File photo)

ABOITIZ Power Corp. (AP) is set to award the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts for its coal expansion project of Therma Visayas Inc. (TVI) in Toledo City, Cebu.

In an online media briefing on Monday, April 22, 2024, AP president and chief executive officer Emmanuel Rubio said they’ve already narrowed down the possible EPC suppliers for TVI’s Unit 3.

“We’ve narrowed it down to two,” said Rubio, who declined to give more specific details.

The 150-megawatt (MW) TVI 3 is slated for completion in 2027. Its coal plant in Toledo City currently operates two units with 170 MW capacity each.

TVI, a joint venture between AP and Vivant Corp., is one of the two coal-fired power plants in the country that houses a coal dome facility, second only to its sister plant Therma South Inc.

“The site is already built and is provisioned for a third unit… We just have to put the steam turbine generator and the boiler,” he said. “As you know we are focused on addressing demand and with that, we’re providing cost-competitive electricity to the consumers with minimum impact on the environment.”

TVI had already secured permits for the project even before the Department of Energy declared a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants in October 2020 during the Duterte administration. The moratorium remains in effect at present.

“When we looked at the economics for the options, considering that the other option would be a 150 MW LNG (liquefied natural gas) since our valuable renewable energy is not an option in Cebu in itself because there’s no land to house 150 megawatts, say solar or wind, there’s no resource area where we can put that. The most viable financially viable option for consumers would be another coal facility, but we need to make sure that we operate it in a responsible way.

Coal, according to the DOE, is a sought-after energy source worldwide. It has the largest reserve and is often the cheapest of the fuel options. The Philippines is largely a coal-consuming country with coal having the highest contribution to the power generation mix at 58 percent in 2021.

“Now that clean coal technologies are available, the demand for coal has remained steady despite the current stringent standard on environmental concerns,” the DOE said on its website.

According to TVI’s website, the Toledo-based power plant uses the Circulating Fluidized Bed and the Best Available Control Technology to minimize coal dust emissions that can harm the atmosphere.

Based on DOE projections, energy demand for Cebu island will reach around 1,400 MW by 2026 and will outpace supply by 2027 – unless new baseload power plants are constructed.

National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) assistant vice president and head for public affairs Cynthia Perez-Alabanza earlier said that Cebu needs to have additional power plants given its rapid population growth and increased investments post-pandemic.

Cebu, according to NGCP, eats half of the power demand of Visayas. Cebu City, specifically, the Visayan Electric franchise, consumes half of the province’s demand.

“That’s how huge the demand of Cebu is,” said Alabanza, adding that this is the reason the Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project passes directly to Cebu.

Last week, red and yellow alerts were raised in both Luzon and Visayas grids due to tight power supply as more than 30 power plants were offline or were running at low capacity amid the intense dry spell. / KOC


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