GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 7 Jan) – Distribution utility South Cotabato I Electric Cooperative (Socoteco I) is building an 11.9-megawatt (MW) bunker-fired power plant to augment the growing power requirements of industries and residential consumers in parts of South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat provinces.
Santiago Tudio, Socoteco 1 general manager, said Wednesday they have partnered with energy firm Supreme Power Corporation for the construction and operationalization of an embedded power plant that will be run by modular generator sets.
He said the construction of the plant will begin on Thursday in a property owned by the electric cooperative in Matulas, Barangay Paraiso in Koronadal City.
“We’re targeting to complete the construction and eventually operate the plant by July,” he said in a radio interview.
Citing their initial agreement with Supreme Power, he said the company will operate the plant for 15 years using imported generator sets from South Korea.
He said the plant will directly stream its generated power to Socoteco 1, which serves Koronadal City, eight municipalities in South Cotabato and Lutayan town in Sultan Kudarat.
“After 15 years, the power plant will be owned at no cost by the cooperative. We will assume full ownership and take charge with its operations,” he said.
Details are not immediately available regarding Supreme Power, which is based in Metro Manila.
A document posted at the Department of Energy’s website showed that it issued a “clearance for grid impact study” to the company on May 19 last year.
Tudio said they decided to deal for the building of an embedded bunker-fired power plant to address the continuing supply shortage in the Mindanao grid.
He said the plant will serve as insurance in case the hydropower plants of the National Power Corporation (NPC) in the Lanao provinces and Bukidnon would experience supply shortages and when other power plants in Mindanao will bog down.
He said they are anticipating a possible drought this year lasting three to four months that would drastically reduce the generating capacity of the hydropower plants.
Socoteco 1’s peak power requirement increased to as high as 36 MW this year from 33 MW a year ago.
The cooperative mainly draws its supplies from the NPC and Aboitiz Power Corporation’s subsidiary Therma South Inc.
It has a backup supply of 12 MW from a diesel-fired power plant operated by Mapalad Power Corporation (MPC), which is controlled by the Alcantara-owned Conal Holdings and Aggreko Plc., in Barangay Morales in Koronadal City.
Socoteco 1’s supply contract with MPC will end in 2016.