THE Visayas region may yet be spared from a looming power crisis expected to hit the country in 2015 after a new 82-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant went on stream in Toledo City, Cebu.
Global Business Power Corp. (GBP) switched on last Friday the P10.2-billion expansion project of subsidiary Toledo Power Corp. (TPC) to augment supply from the firm’s existing 60-MW coal-fired and 40-MW diesel-fired plants serving the region.
Other power firms like Aboitiz Power and Vivant Energy Corp. also have power projects in Cebu.
TPC’s 82-MW expansion project will help ease the power situation in the Visayas grid and will serve the requirements of major industries in Western Cebu, including the power needs of Balamban Enerzone and Cebu Electric Cooperative (CEBECO) III.
GBP chairman Francisco Sebastian said the expansion project was completed three months ahead of schedule as a reaffirmation of GBP’s commitment to the growth and development of the Visayas and in response to the government’s call for more power supply to avert the looming energy crisis in 2015.
“The immediate completion of the expansion project is a validation of effective private-public partnerships, working for the common goal of building a progressive nation,” added Sebastian.
“GBP had originally intended for the new 82-MW plant to replace its existing coal facility with the latest clean coal technology,” said Jaime Azurin, GBP executive vice president.
“Out of the need for more power supply, however, we are refurbishing TPC’s existing coal-fired plant to increase its capacity to 62 MW to serve as additional bridging power source for the projected energy requirements for next year’s summer season and in time for the APEC [Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation] meeting,” Azurin said.
The new plant will also supply the power requirements of Carmen Copper Corp.’s mining expansion projects, beginning December 26, 2014. Carmen Copper is a subsidiary of Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corp.
Five decades after the establishment of TPC, it will once again supply the power requirements of Atlas through Carmen Copper. TPC was initially built to power the Atlas mines in the 1960s until the mines closed in the 1990s.
At the ceremonial switching, GBP and TPC officials were joined by Cebu Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, Toledo City Mayor John Henry Osmeña, and Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Raul B. Aguilos.
Aguilos, who represented Secretary Jericho Petilla who could not make it due to a DOE budget hearing, welcomed the synchronization of Toledo Power’s 1A Expansion Project to the grid in Toledo City.
The additional capacity will augment the energy supply in the southern portion of the province and the rest of the Visayas, and will directly benefit industrial power consumers in Cebu.
He mentioned the looming power crisis in Luzon and Mindanao in 2015 that needs to be urgently addressed and emphasized the importance of energy in sustaining the region’s economic growth.
GBP is one of the leading independent power producers in the Visayas. Its power plants are strategically built where high growth is expected. These power facilities are located in Cebu, Iloilo, Aklan, and Mindoro.
The company has an ongoing 150-MW expansion project in Iloilo City through subsidiary, Panay Energy Development Corp. The project broke ground last March 2014 and will be operational by June 2016.
Panay Energy’s 150-MW expansion project can serve the power requirements of the entire Visayas region, including Panay, Boracay, Negros, Cebu, and Leyte, at a rate of P5.05 per kwH for long-term supply agreements.
GBP is a member of the GT Capital Group of Companies of which Metrobank is the flagship company.