Maasim coal power project construction to start in 3Q

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/10 May) – After several misses, the Alcantara-led $450-million coal-fired power project would be constructed starting in the third quarter of the year.

Tomas I. Alcantara, chairman and president of Alsons Consolidated Resources, Inc. (ACR), has issued instructions for construction works of the 200-megawatt coal power plant to start by July or within the second semester of this year, the company announced in a sponsored radio program on Monday.

“Actually, the Maasim coal power plant project has started already with the planting of trees and the putting up of nurseries. As to the construction of the power plant, Mr. Alcantara gave instruction to start it in the second semester of 2011,” said Joel Aton, human resources manager of Southern Philippines Power Corp. in which subsidiaries of ACR hold a 55-percent stake.

Alcantara, who announced their plan to build a 200MW coal-fired power plant during the 16th Mindanao Business Conference here in September 2007, could not be reached for comment.

Aton, also a councilor of the municipality of Alabel in Sarangani, said the Maasim coal-fired project has a new “corporate face through Sarangani Energy Corp. and no longer Conal Holdings Corp.”

The new corporate name that mentions Sarangani would add another “layer of prestige” to Sarangani province, he added.

According to the Department of Energy, Sarangani Energy was given endorsement “to acquire, design, construct, erect, assemble, rehabilitate, expand, commission, operate, and maintain power-generating plants and related facilities for the generation of electricity, including facilities to purchase, manufacture, develop or process fuel for the generation of such electricity; to sell electricity to any person or entity through electricity markets, by trading, or by contract; to administer, conserve and manage the electricity generated by power-generating plants, owned by the corporation or by a third party; to invest in or acquire corporations or entities engaged in any of the foregoing activities.”

Sarangani Energy is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Conal Holdings, which 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, conducted the legworks that allowed the granting of the environmental compliance certificate to the coal-fired power plant project.

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.

In December, Nocos announced that construction of the power plant would begin in the first quarter of 2011, which failed to materialize and just one of the several targets that the company missed.

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

The coal-fired power plant project has started its carbon sink with a cost of $7.5 million about two years ago. The sink involves planting of trees that would capture carbon emissions.

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. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)