Subic locators not primary beneficiary of coal-fired power plant
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Although the coal-fired power plant that is to be built here would rise in the Redondo Peninsula, almost all of the power it would generate would not go to businesses in this freeport, an official of the project proponent said.
In a July 8 letter to Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chair Roberto Garcia, RP Energy president Erramon Aboitiz said the power that would be generated by the 600-megawatt (MW) plant would go to the Luzon grid.
RP Energy is composed of the firms Aboitiz Power, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), and Taiwan Cogen Corp.
“The original intention was to build a power plant within the Subic Bay Freeport … to bring more competitive power to its locators. [But] it became evident that the original idea of directly connecting the power project to the zone and bypassing the National Transmission Corp. was not feasible due to the substantial cost of the submarine cable and the uncertain reliability and security of the power supply via this submarine cable, considering its vulnerability to damage during typhoons, earthquakes, etc.,” Aboitiz said.
He said this was why RP Energy revised its development plan. “ This plan was modified further to encompass two 300 MW phases, proceeding initially with the first 300 MW phase, and a few years later, when power demand increased, installing the second phase,” he said.
Earlier, Danny Piano, president of the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce (SBFCC), said his group’s opposition to the coal-fired power plant has become less fierce.
Their position has changed because they want to benefit from cheap power that the plant will generate for the freeport.
“Most of those who approve this project are manufacturing companies [that are heavy energy users], which will benefit from this,” he said.
A source in the SBMA, however, said Piano was misinformed.
“There will be no transmission line to the freeport, only to the national grid. It is also cheaper for them to transmit [the power generated] to the national grid than directly to the freeport,” said the source, who asked not to be identified for lack of authority to speak to reporters on the issue.
In his letter, Aboitiz said RP Energy “is willing to make available a 50-MW block of power to SBMA and its locators on the same terms as the power supply agreement that may ultimately be agreed upon by Meralco and approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission.”
“This block can be contracted via a contract with Subic Enerzone,” he said.
But the SBMA source said this amount of power would not be enough for even just one locator, like the Korean shipbuilder, Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines Inc., which uses more than 50 MW a month.
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