Aboitiz’s TSI still in its ‘infancy stage’ – MinDA official

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 13 Apr) – The 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant of Therma South Inc. (TSI), a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power, in Brgy. Binugao, Toril is still taking “baby steps” before it can smoothly provide an unimpeded supply of power to the Mindanao grid, an official of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said on Wednesday.

Speaking during “Wednesdays at Habi at Kape” at Abreeza of the Ayala Malls, Romeo Montenegro, MinDA director for Investment Promotion, International Relations and Public Affairs, pointed out that the power plant is subject to frailties being still in its “infancy stage” while “finding its gear to eventually perform its role.”

The tripping of the 150-MW unit 1 of the TSI, which is under a 14-day repair, was reportedly caused by a boiler tube leak, triggered after a tree fell on the Davao-Toril 138-kilovolt (KV) transmission line 1 of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) last Wednesday. The repair is expected to be completed by April 21.

For this year, this was the second time that TSI 1 underwent an emergency shutdown; the first was a 10-day preventive maintenance shutdown implemented from February 16 to 26.

The TSI 2 also implemented an eight-day corrective maintenance shutdown from January 25 to February 2, which marked the start of its commercial operation but it went offline again last March 3 and reconnected back to grid evening of same day.

The TSI 1 started commercial operation last September 2015, way ahead of its inauguration on January 8, 2016.

“It gets highlighted because there is no reserve,” Montenegro said.

He noted that other power plants – including that of Alsons Development Corp., San Miguel Corp, and Filinvest – which are expected to go online this year, may also undergo the same troubles as TSI’s before these can run smoothly.

“At certain times, the power is accepted by the grid and at certain times, it’s rejected by the grid,” Montenegro said.

Alsons’ 100 MW power plant is undergoing test commissioning while Filinvest’s 135 MW plant and the two units of San Miguel Corp. are expected to go online within the year, which will address the immediate supply shortfall.

Montenegro said that NGCP transmission lines are ready to deliver these new power capacities to the grid.

But he noted that when these plants go online, these might not be enough to ensure zero brownouts because there are companies in fast-growing industries like real estate that require additional load.

“The entry of new available capacities will address the immediate requirement but it will be eaten up again because there are industries about to operate which will outstrip whatever is excess,” Montenegro said.

“The spike (demand) will also come from industry holding back their use of power, so it’s both the old and the new companies,” he said.

Mindanao’s demand peaks between 1,400 MW and 1,500 MW but available capacity is placed at only 1,200 to 1,300. As of Wednesday, the island has a deficit of 119 MW.

The Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) announced that there have been five-hour rotational brownouts within its franchise area since Wednesday last week. These areas include Davao City; Brgy. Bincungan in Tagum City; and the municipalities of Carmen, Sto. Tomas and Braulio Dujali in Davao del Norte.

Montenegro said Davao Light is the biggest power consumer in Mindanao with a demand of 350 MW during peak hours but the power allocated to it has been reduced due to the tripping of TSI 1 and the reduction of water levels that affected the generating capacities of Agus and Pulangui hydro power plants.

The distribution utility gets 60 MW out of contracted 170 MW from National Power Corporation – Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (NPC-PSALM), 50 MW out 100 MW from TSI, 23 MW out of 53 MW from Hedcor, 29 MW out of 30 MW from Therma Marine Inc., 14 MW from 18 MW of Alsons’ Western Mindanao Power Corporation (WMPC), and 30 MW from the DLPC’s Bajada Diesel Power Plant.