SMPC to end ‘tube leak technical glitches’ for 600-MW Calaca plant

By Myrna M. Velasco

Semirara Mining and Power Corporation (SMPC) Chairman and CEO Isidro A. Consunji indicated they shall be able to achieve that with the engagement of Japanese firms Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions (Toshiba ESS) and Kansai Electric Power Co. Inc. as consultants – the two firms of which will then help bring back the plant to its tip-top condition.

“Tube leak in coal plants is not a thing in Japan, you would only hear that their plants suffer from that once in 3 to 5 years,” he said, adding that such would be the level of efficiency that the company would want to achieve in the Calaca power facility despite its two-decade stretch of operations.

Tube leaks are considered the most common problems causing forced outages of coal-fired power plants in the Philippines. As noted by experts, tube leak could be ignited by overheating or thermal stress in the generating units, waterside and fireside corrosion; or due to erosion by soot-blowing steam or ash particles.

Consunji explained it is the first time that the Calaca coal-fired generating plant will be going through major rehabilitation after more than 25 years of operations.

As noted by SMPC President and Chief Operating Officer Maria Cristina C. Gotianun, Toshiba is the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for one generating unit of the Calaca plant when it was built by state-run National Power Corporation. The Calaca power plant was an acquisition of the Consunji group from the government-underpinned privatization program of power assets.

The first unit of the Calaca plant (at 300MW installed capacity) had been placed on life extension program (LEP) or major rehabilitation since December last year and this is due for completion in July to August this year.
Once that unit is synchronized back to the grid, it will be the turn of the second unit to be placed on rehabilitation process – and that may also take another six months, according to Consunji.

Calaca’s generating unit 1 refurbishment completion will enable its capacity to be ramped up to 230 megawatts from previously at 200MW, hence, it will be gaining additional 30MW. For unit 2, its level of generation is expected sustained at 300MW.

Consunji noted that the increased electricity generation of the two Calaca units will satiate the scale of capacity that the company has committed under its 10-year power supply agreement with Manila Electric Company.

And given the scheduled shutdown of the Calaca generating units that will be enforced simultaneously within the year, Consunji emphasized that this will have impact on the company’s level of revenues and eventual bottom line.

“Next year (2020) will be better. The shutdown we have this year was already factored in in our calculation of financial performance within the year,” he stressed.