By Myrna M. Velasco
Two of the mothballed power barges from the 242-megawatt Therma Mobile, Inc. (TMO) bunker-C fired power plant in Navotas will be transferred by the Aboitiz Power Corp. to Visayas to cater to that grid’s ancillary services needs.
“It’s in the plan to relocate one or two of the barges to where it’s going to provide ancillary services, which is Visayas,” Aboitiz Power Chief Operating Officer Emmanuel V. Rubio said.
Rubio said the transfer plan will start with some components this year such as installing mooring and connection facilities, but the full relocation of the two barges is still targeted for completion in 2020.
“The movement (of the barges) probably will take longer — we have to provide mooring facilities, we need connection in the Visayas – so maybe a year,” he explained.
Ancillary services refer to the power supply as well as reserves that the system operator (the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines) will need so it can reliably and efficiently serve load customers. That power supply is generally procured from power generators.
Rubio explained the TMO plant mothballing was decided upon by the Aboitiz conglomerate because of an unapproved supply contract which to date, just have remaining duration of five months.
The company, in an earlier disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), has noted that it will “physically disconnect” the plant from the load network of Manila Electric Company (Meralco), the previous utility off-taker of the plant’s capacity.
Given current conditions, the company indicated that it will also be de-registering as a trading participant in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) effective February 5 this year.
Such decision, according to the Aboitiz Group, had been “due to TMO’s commercial inactivity since June 26, 2018 following the absence of an approved power supply agreement.”
It added that “after evaluating the circumstances and the options available, TMO decided to mothball its bunker-C fired diesel power plants.”
Corresponding to that move, the Aboitiz firm said it will be sending notices to the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines Inc. (IEMOP), which is the market operator of the WESM, as well as to the Department of Energy and the Energy Regulatory Commission.
The TMO plant comprises of four power barges that it originally acquired from the government-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) in 2011.
When the company purchased the assets, it spent for the rehabilitation of the generating units. It was able to reinforce its efficiency generation up to the level of 200MW.
The initial capacity of 100MW was set on commercial operations in November 2013 and was fed to the load network of Meralco – via a supply agreement that the relevant parties had underwritten.
Full electricity generation ramp up to the level of 200MW had been achieved in 2014 following the completion of rehabilitation of the other units.