Mitsubishi corners contract for MakBan plant upgrade

Published December 3, 2020, 12:39 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

Japanese firm Mitsubishi Power, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group, has cornered the contract for the upgrade of the 458-megawatt Makiling-Banahaw geothermal power facility that is owned and operated by AP Renewables Inc. (APRI) of the Aboitiz group.

Under the deal, Mitsubishi will be supplying a new set of steam turbine components for Unit no. 1 of the geothermal plant, “to optimize its performance and minimize geothermal steam consumption per power output.”

The project with APRI for the MakBan facility upgrade is due for completion in 2021, according to the Japanese company.

Mitsubishi said it was also the equipment supplier that delivered all of the geothermal power generating units for the MakBan plant – the first one in 1979; while the nine others were delivered through the years until 1996.

On the plant rehabilitation project, “Mitsubishi Power’s Nagasaki Works will supply the newly designed steam turbine components,” the Japanese firm indicated.

In addition, Mitsubishi Power’s local subsidiary MHI Power (Philippines) Plant Services Corporation, which serves as the contracting arm of Mitsubishi Power (Philippines) Inc. primarily on after-sales service, will undertake on-site installation works.

“Mitsubishi Power’s superior steam turbine technology enabling high performance upgrades while ensuring full compatibility with existing facilities, has been rated by APRI and resulted in this order,” the Japanese company stressed.

As explained, the process of geothermal power generation involves hot water produced by magma deep below the earth’s surface and this is extracted as steam, which will then be utilized to drive the plant’s turbine.

Geothermal power can be generated as a base load capacity for an electricity system, and is a widely proven technology that can deliver stable and reliable power supply.

APRI acquired the MakBan facility, along with the 289MW Tiwi geothermal power plant in Albay, for US$446 million in the privatization exercise carried out by state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) on the assets way back in 2009.

And since these plants have been on commercial operations since the 1970s, the facilities and equipment would already need upgrading, improvement and repairs so their electricity generation life cycle could be extended with utmost efficiency and reliability.