Alsons may bid for Agus-Pulangi complex

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POWER producer Alsons Consolidated Resources Inc. (ACR) said it is interested in joining the bidding for the Agus-Pulangi hydropower complex in Mindanao.

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Joseph Nocos, ACR vice president for power development, said on Monday that the Agus-Pulangi hydropower complex is an “interesting prospect” for the company.

“This is also why, as part of our expansion program, Alsons will be concentrating on hydro-electric power plants and sub-solar power projects in the near future, as we shift our focus towards renewable energy,” Nocos told reporters.

“This gives you a good indication of how different types of power plants really work together to complement each other in the grid,” Nocos said. “You have the Agus-Pulangi, which produces power from renewable sources.”

Nocos said while it is important to have renewable power resources, it is also necessary to balance these with conventional power sources.

“This is to ensure the sustainability of our energy sources in the Mindanao grid,” he said.

“As you can see, it is not enough and it is subject to the unpredictability of weather patterns. Therefore, we will need conventional or fossil-fired power plants to help provide dependable capacity in the Mindanao grid.”

Nocos mentioned that Alsons’ coal-fired power plant in Sarangani would have much impact on the Mindanao grid, as it comes on line in March, adding up to the firm’s currently operating diesel power plants.

“We’re helping bridge the deficiency in supply in Mindanao,” he said. “I’m sure you’re all aware that the El Niño phenomenon is currently happening in Mindanao. The lake elevation is approaching critical levels. We expect heavier utilization of the diesels as our customers try to make up for what the hydros cannot supply at the moment.”
Alsons has two power plants up for construction later this year.

“The first one is the second phase of the Sarangani Energy Corporation, which is another 105 megawatts that will be built alongside phase 1—the one that we’re already commissioning right now,” Nocos said. “We are actually issuing the notice to proceed to the contractor in May. So we start the construction of this power plant in May and targeting completion of this power station by around November 2018.”

“And then, this will be followed by the San Ramon Power Plant in Zamboanga, which is another 105 megawatts that we expect to begin constructing in around October or November this year to bring it to operation in the first half of 2019,” he added. “We are hopeful that when these plants are completed, that would bring enough stability to the base load in Mindanao.”

Nocos said all of Alsons’ ongoing and upcoming projects would give about 600 megawatts of power capacity for Mindanao.

“Of this 600 megawatts, we have 258 megawatts of bunker-fired diesel capacity; we have 27 megawatts of high-speed diesel capacity providing back-up power to two utilities in Mindanao; and then we will have 315 megawatts of base load coal-fired power capacity—all this contributing to the supply of electricity in Mindanao,” he said.

Nocos added that most of these capacities are already contracted and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) had mostly approved the contracts for these power stations.

“In terms of whether or not the megawatts from these power stations can actually be sold or distributed in the grid, we can do that because of the fact that we have the contracts and most of these contracts have been approved,” Nocos pointed out. “Some are still subject to approval by the ERC, but the process is already ongoing for these contracts.”

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