DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/06 October)— The entire 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant of Therma South, Inc., a subsidiary of AboitizPower Corp., is “on track to go on stream by the first half of 2015,” a company executive said.
Bobby Orig, AboitizPower first vice president for Mindanao affairs, said construction of the facilities for the plant is about 50-percent complete, with around 2,000 workers on site, many working round-the-clock.
Once fully commissioned, it would become the largest baseload coal-fed power plant in Mindanao.
Currently, STEAG State Power, Inc. operates the 210-MW coal-fired plant in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental, where AboitizPower is also one of the investors.
“We are fully committed in delivering our power to our customers on time and helping relieve Mindanawons of the debilitating effects of the Mindanao power crisis,” Orig said in a statement released Sunday.
The P25-billion power plant started its site preparation works in late 2011 after it received approval from the Davao City Council. Full construction started in 2012.
During a site visit on Saturday sponsored by the company, several Mindanao-based journalists saw that the mammoth structure of the first of two 150-MW power plant units has been erected, while foundation works for the second unit has been completed.
Of the committed large power projects in the island, the Mindanao Development Authority, though its Mindanao Power Situation report released last June, said Therma South targets the commissioning of the first 150-MW in the third quarter of 2014.
Therma South is also constructing a coal dome, the first of its kind in the Philippines, according to the statement.
In fulfillment of the environmental conditions set by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Therma South is building a fully-enclosed dome to secure and contain its coal supply.
More steel structures are being delivered on the site between Binugao, Davao City and Inawayan, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur to complete the other parts of the power plant complex.
Orig said that close to 20 electric cooperatives and distribution utilities across Mindanao will buy power from Therma South.
Despite an expanding economy and population, no major power plant has been built in Mindanao since 2007.
With demand for power increasing and no additional supply, parts of the island suffered from daily rotating brownouts, some lasting from six to eight hours, since 2011.
Half of Mindanao’s power supply comes from the hydropower power plants operated by the state-owned National Power Corp., which have become vulnerable to low water supply during summer months or long dry spells.
Besides Therma South, the Alcantara-led Sarangani Energy Corp. is also constructing a 200-MW coal-fired power plant in Maasim, Sarangani
If not arrested, the power shortage in Mindanao is projected to hit 484-MW by 2015, enough to cut off power supply to the major cities of Davao, Gen. Santos, Cagayan de Oro, Butuan and Zamboanga, according to the AboitizPower statement.
Environmental groups like Greenpeace and other church-backed organizations have been opposing the construction of coal-fired power plants on concerns over human health and the environment. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)