INEC plant to end brownouts in Bantayan island

Published November 10, 2021, 5:24 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

The newly commissioned 23.3-megawatt diesel-fed power plant of Isla Norte Energy Corporation (INEC) of the Vivant group will finally end the electricity supply disruptions tormenting residents and businesses in Bantayan island, one of the known tourism pivots of the country.

According to INEC, the power plant in Barangay Kabangbang, “will supply the long term total power requirements of Bantayan island,” as underpinned by the 15-year power supply agreement (PSA) inked between the power project developer and Bantayan Island Electric Cooperative (BANELCO).

“INEC completed the testing and commissioning of its engines in October 2021, during which it was able to augment the island’s power supply during shortages,” the company said.

Project sponsor-firm INEC is a joint venture of Vivant Integrated Diesel Corporation (VIDC) and Gigawatt Power Inc., and the power generating facility in Cebu’s Bantayan Island is its first venture on the sphere of power project development.

Emil Andre M. Garcia, president and CEO of INEC, emphasized that the power plant project was completed on time, despite the hurdles posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, especially at the height of advancing the facility’s construction.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has already granted INEC the provisional authority to operate the power plant – and that will be an arrangement applicable for 90 days, while the industry regulator continues with the approval of the PSA for the plant’s capacity.

Garcia similarly cited BANELCO, the capacity off-taker, for its “foresight in the crafting of the TOR (terms of reference for the PSA bidding), in making sure that there will be enough reserves for the long term supply of the island.”

He further noted “we are hoping that with this, we will have sufficient supply to power the island for the coming years.”

The INEC top executive vouched that the plant “uses the latest achievements in diesel power generation technology that comply with environmental and safety standards,” specifying that “our operations are also subject to periodic monitoring by an environmental unit which reports to regulators on the plant’s compliance to environment conditions.”

And despite the surging diesel prices in the world market, Garcia qualified that there is a provision for “lock-in price” in their PSA with BANELCO, hence, the consumers in the area could be assured of the competitive rates underwritten in the supply deal.

For his part, BANELCO General Manager Lee Rivera stated that with the 23MW power generating facility of INEC, “we have enough compared to our present peak demand which is around 8.5 megawatts.”

He opined that electricity demand growth in the area will be primarily propelled by tourism activities, which is the business space that the government has been trying to resuscitate following the economic distress wrought by the niggling coronavirus pandemic. And with sufficient power supply in the area now, Bantayan could likewise flourish as the ‘egg basket’ or the main poultry producer of the country.

INEC said “the plant has a guaranteed dependable capacity of 15MW, which is sufficient to address the peak demand of Bantayan Island with reserve and N-1 contingency of 7.27 MW,” and the power firm will also act as the sole electricity provider to BANELCO and “will maintain this status until the end of the PSA term.”

As affirmed by INEC, “Bantayan is considered one of the country’s top emerging tourism hubs and a leader in the poultry growing industry. It is also a major supplier of agri-vet needs, a major part of the agricultural supply chain across the country. “

On INEC’s ‘social contract’ with its newly minted host community, Shem Jose W. Garcia, executive director of Vivant Foundation Inc., conveyed that “our CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiatives in Bantayan show the strength of commitment to meet, and go beyond, perfunctory standards – to fulfill our responsibility as a partner in the island’s economic development, and journey of growth.” ###