Sarangani coal plant construction slated to start in Q3, exec says

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/24 May) – The actual construction of an Alcantara-led $450-million coal power station will commence this third quarter and is targeted to initially go on stream in 2015, a company executive said.

Oscar Benedict Contreras III, Alsons Power Business Unit manager for communications and stakeholder relations, said that site development works for the 200-megawatt coal-fired power plant are underway.

“The detailed design and engineering of the power station will run through the third quarter of 2012, leading to the actual erection and installation works of the power plant,” he told MindaNews Wednesday.

In an earlier statement, Contreras said that the coal power plant in Barangay Kamanga in the town of Maasim, Sarangani is expected to be operational before the end of 2015.

Sarangani Energy Corp., a wholly owned company of the Alcantara Group, is pursuing the coal plant project, which acquired an environmental compliance certificate in 2009 from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Technical and administrative personnel of Sarangani Energy have been holding office in the on-site completed project development office, Contreras said.

Sarangani Energy has forged a power supply deal with the South Cotabato Electric Cooperative II (Socoteco II), which serves this city, the entire Sarangani province and parts of South Cotabato.

The power sales agreement includes the provision of 70 MW to the electric cooperative, and is still up for review with the Energy Regulatory Commission.

“We expect a decision to be reached before the end of the month,” Contreras said.

Once on stream, the power generated by the plant, the proponent said, will help ease stabilize the supply in Mindanao, which experienced interruptions in the past few months due to the generation deficiency of power producers.

The project site sits near a world-class diving spot and is facing opposition from groups like the local Catholic Church and Greenpeace on concerns over the environment and human health.

It has been in the pipeline for about five years, with Tomas I. Alcantara, Alsons Consolidated Resources, Inc. chairman, announcing the plan to build the power plant during the 16th Mindanao Business Conference here in September 2007.

Last November, Alcantara finally led the groundbreaking rites for the power plant.

On [full] completion, this plant will generate about 200 MW of power that will provide “safe, reliable and affordable energy” to the people of SOCSARGEN (South Cotabato, Sarangani and General Santos City) and the rest of Mindanao,” Alcantara said then.

He noted that at least 500 people will be employed during the construction period, and around 150 when the plant goes on stream, with preference on local residents.

The power plant will employ modern and world-class equipment and technology to ensure “minimal environmental impact,” Alcantara said.

Company officials earlier said the power plant would be constructed in two phases of 100 MW each in an interval of one year after the completion of the first phase. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)