Floating power plants help ease Mindanao power shortfall

Published by rudy Date posted on March 29, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – Power barges PB 117 and PB 118 have been in full operation from the very first day that AboitizPower Corp. assumed their full ownership this year and have been used to help ease the electricity shortfall in Mindanao.

PB 117 and PB 118 each have a generating capacity of 100 MW. PB 117 is moored at Agusan del Norte, while PB 118 is moored at Compostela Valley.

Mindanao draws 70 percent of its energy requirements from hydropower, making it prone to seasonal changes and disturbances like the El Niño.

PB 117 and PB 118 are like “floating power plants” that can be towed to different areas where electricity is needed. Both are huge boats that carry power plants and are connected to the Mindanao Grid through a substation of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).

AboitizPower took the risk of operating both power barges even without an actual approval from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) of the supply contracts in order to mitigate the supply deficit in Mindanao and lessen the rotating brownouts.

Should the ERC not approve these contracts, all the energy delivered from the time of takeover up until the ERC decision may not be billed by AboitizPower to the NGCP.

AboitizPower opted to take this risk in the interest of public service and consistent with its corporate philosophy of being a neighbor of choice. If AboitizPower had opted to operate the power barges only upon receipt of regulatory approval, the brownouts in Mindana would be far worse than what they already are.

AboitzPower took over PB 117 and PB 118 through wholly-owned subsidiary Therma Marine, Inc. (TMI) after it won a negotiated bid conducted by the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. last 2009.

AboitizPower took over PB 117 last March, while it took over PB 118 last February this year. Both facilities had been running non-stop after the two-and-a-half hour obligatory shutdown conducted in facilitating its turnover.

AboitizPower president and CEO Erramon Aboitiz said that running the PB 117 and PB 118, however, were only part of the solution in addressing the electricity shortfall in Mindanao.

“Additional investment in generating facilities has to be attracted to the island and we think having the WESM (wholesale spot electricity market) operating in the Mindanao Grid is a prerequisite to any new capacity coming in. We firmly believe that a market and competitive environment will attract the required capacity for the Mindanao grid,” he said. –(The Philippine Star)

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