Meralco-EGCO plant starts adding capacity to Luzon grid

Published May 1, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Myrna M. Velasco

While many plants are still on forced outages due to technical problems or on account of transmission line tripping following last month’s 6.1-magnitude earthquake, the 455-megawatt San Buenaventura coal plant joint venture of Meralco PowerGen and EGCO Group of Thailand has already started beefing up power capacity for the supply-strained Luzon grid.

According to San Buenaventura Power Ltd. Co. (SBPL) General Manager Frank Thiel, the plant, which is equipped with super critical technology, had been “successfully synchronized to the Luzon grid on Tuesday (April 30) at 6 p.m.”

He qualified that as of yesterday (May 1), the plant was injecting 100MW gross capacity to the Luzon grid – or a net of roughly 77MW. This is targeted ramped up to 250MW on Thursday (May 2) in the evening.

SBPL is the corporate vehicle of the new coal-fired power project sited in Mauban, Quezon province, which is a tie-up between the power generating arm of Manila Electric Company (Meralco) and New Growth B.V., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Electricity Generating Pubic Co. Ltd. of Thailand.

The SBPL plant is due to reach full commercial operation around September this year, yet with it adding capacity now to the power-scant biggest grid of the country is a highly favorable development – especially during the high demand months of summer.

“SBPL is currently on-line and delivering power as part of its testing activities,” Thiel emphasized. Essentially, the plant is at its commissioning and testing phase prior to reaching full commercial operations. The plant’s capacity will be fed to Meralco’s load network as underpinned by their 20-year power supply agreement.

The SBPL executive extended credit to system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) for “a big help in facilitating the synchronization effort.”

Thiel added they are now targeting to reach commercial operations date (COD) “and be able then to provide an additional source of reliable, competitively priced power to the grid.”

As of end-March this year, it was noted that the power plant project’s engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor – South Korean firm Daelim Industrial Co. Ltd. – already completed 99.29-percent of its work commitment to the facility. The super critical boiler technology for the plant was supplied by Japanese firm Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems.

Power capacity shoring up for Luzon grid is at its most critical point this time with the jittery state of the power system given the recurring yellow and red alert conditions being experienced – that have consequently raised fears of brownout incidents during the country’s mid-term elections on May 13.

Even if election day was declared a holiday, the Department of Energy (DOE) is ensuring that there would be sufficient supply to support the voting processes at precincts as well as the eventual tally and transmittal of the election results.

The energy department has been counting on the capacity additions from new power plants, the deployment of generating sets primarily in off-grid areas; as well as the wider participation of entities with gensets in the interruptible load program.

The SBPL executive extended credit to system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) for “a big help in facilitating the synchronization effort.”

Thiel added they are now targeting to reach commercial operations date (COD) “and be able then to provide an additional source of reliable, competitively priced power to the grid.”

 
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