Alcantara-led power firm, coop forge supply deal

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/7 July) – The Alcantara-led Conal Holdings Corp. has forged a power supply agreement with the South Cotabato Electric Cooperative-2 (Socoteco-2) that will be generated from Conal’s planned coal-fired power plant in Maasim, Sarangani.

The agreement came even before Conal Holdings’ new subsidiary, the Sarangani Energy Corp., could formally start construction of the controversial $450-million coal power plant stoutly opposed by the local Catholic Church.

Under the power supply deal, Sarangani Energy will provide a dedicated supply of 70 megawatts to the local electric cooperative.

In a statement, Tomas Alcantara, chairman of Alsons Consolidated Resources, Inc., said the agreement will ensure that consumers of Socoteco-2 get to enjoy “the benefits of safe, reliable and affordable energy.”

“We remain steadfast in our dedication to building a secure, ecologically sustainable, and prosperous future for the people of Socssksargen and the rest of Mindanao,” he said.

For his part, Elenito Senit, Socoteco-2 president, said the power supply agreement with Conal Holdings was in line with the cooperative’s commitment to provide a steady supply of electricity at a fair price to commercial and residential consumers.

“This project assures our community of a brighter future and a better life for all,” Senit said.

Socoteco-2 serves this city, the whole of Sarangani and parts of South Cotabato.

Construction of the coal-fired power plant was expected to finally gain ground within the year, after several misses apparently due to the project’s technical and financial considerations.

Alcantara announced their plan to build a 200MW coal-fired power plant during the 16th Mindanao Business Conference here in September 2007.

Conal Holdings is 60 percent owned by the publicly listed ACR and the rest held by the Electricity Generating Public Co. Ltd., Thailand’s largest power producer.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued the ECC to the Maasim coal-fired power plant in 2009.

Last March, Joseph Nocos, Conal Holdings vice president, announced that the detailed design and engineering studies were in the end stages, but did not disclose the contractor they are eyeing to construct the power plant.

He had confirmed that among the potential investors to the coal power plant project are Aboitiz Power Corp. and Toyota Tsusho.

However, the local Catholic Church is stoutly opposing the coal-fired power plant, with the opposition gaining international momentum last year with the sailing of Rainbow Warrior, Greenpeace’s vintage advocacy vessel, to Maasim.

The planned coal power plant site is near a world-class diving spot. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)