Alsons to bid for Agus-Pulangi hydro power

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ALSONS Consolidated Resources Inc. (ACR), the publicly listed company of the Alcantara Group, said it is interested in joining the bidding for the Agus-Pulangi hydropower complex in Mindanao.

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Joseph C. Nocos, vice president for power development at ACR, said the Agus and Pulangi hydropower complex is an “interesting prospect” for the company.

Nocos said the acquisition of the hydropower facility would bring a well-balanced generation mix for the company.

“As a power generation company, we aim to have a well-balanced generation mix, so right now we have diesel, we are building coal,” Nocos told reporters.

Nocos added that Alsons also wants to boost its renewable energy (RE) portfolio to focus on hydropower platforms.

“We believe that power supply from Alsons will be more competitive if we have a significant hydro” source, he said.

The mammoth Agus-Pulangi power complex, operated by state-owned National Power Corp. (Napocor), is set to be privatized by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp (PSALM).

With a combined installed capacity of 982 megawatts, the Agus and Pulangi power plant complexes supply Mindanao electric power consumers more than 50 percent of their total electricity requirements at relatively lower rates, according to Napocor.

The privatization of the Agus-Pulangi plants as well as other Napocor assets is mandated by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA) to settle Napocor’s debts.

PSALM president Emmanuel R. Ledesma, Jr. earlier said the agency plans to procure an operations and management agreement (OMA) for the hydro facility.

But the privatization of the hydro facility is being opposed by various sectors in Mindanao which are proposing the creation of a state-run Mindanao Power Corp. to take over government plants in the region.

Despite opposition to the planned sale of the facility, Nocos said the company is still keen on the hydro complex and will wait for directions from the government.

“We understand that there are still hosts of issues needed to be resolved but we will just wait for the direction from the government, which could go for the privatization,” he said.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla earlier said they were still consulting various agencies regarding the sale of the Agus-Pulangi complex.

He said consultations are necessary as there are pending bills in Congress — such as the creation of a Mindanao Power Corp and the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law — that might affect the privatization of the facility.

The power facility draws water from the Agus River which, under the BBL, will be included in the proposed Bangsamoro autonomous region.

The Agus power plant complex consists of six cascading power plants snaking from the mouth of Lake Lanao in Marawi City down to the Maria Cristina Falls in Iligan City.

Strategically located along the Agus River, these hydroelectric power plants help fuel the economy of Mindanao by providing a steady supply of cheap and reliable electricity.

Meanwhile, the Pulangi facility is a 255-MW hydroelectric power plant
located in Maramag, Bukidnon and has three generating units using the most advanced hydro electric power technology, Napocor said.

Apart from its existing three diesel plants, Alsons is also developing coal-fired power facilities to help provide a stable source of baseload power for Mindanao.

These facilities are: the 105-MW San Ramon Power Inc. plant in Zamboanga City and the 210-MW Sarangani Energy Corp. plant in Maasim, Sarangani.

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