Manila Bulletin

Al­sons Power strate­giz­ing on diesel plants

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Amid over­sup­ply con­di­tion in Min­danao grid, the power group of Al­sons Con­sol­i­dated Re­sources, Inc. (ACR) is step­ping up on cor­ner­ing con­tracts for “peak­ing ca­pac­ity uti­liza­tion” of its diesel-fired power fa­cil­i­ties.

ACR To­mas I. Al­can­tara said “the diesel plants have a role to play… their pur­pose in life is to be able to sup­ply day in and day out – the diesel plants are there for peak­ing, so for a co­op­er­a­tive or util­ity com­pany, they con­tract ca­pac­ity from a diesel for in­sur­ance ca­pac­ity.”

He noted that these fa­cil­i­ties “are al­ways on stand-by, and on mo­ment’s no­tice, we are dis­patched to be able to meet the ‘peaks’ of the de­mand.”

Al­can­tara ex­plained that these plant dis­patch calls are often for 6:00 to 8:00pm peak; and then at 10-12 p.m.

Be­yond the power util­i­ties’ need for in­sur­ance ca­pac­ity, he em­pha­sized that diesel plants are also there “when there is break­down in baseload ca­pac­ity, they would nor­mally make up for the de­fi­cien­cies.”

The diesel plants of the Al­sons power group in­clude the ca­pac­i­ties of the 55-megawatt South­ern Philip­pines Power Cor­po­ra­tion; 100MW Western Min­danao Power Cor­po­ra­tion; and the 103MW Ma­palad Power Cor­po­ra­tion fa­cil­ity in Ili­gan.

The longer-term mar­ket suc­cor for Min­danao though, ac­cord­ing to Al­can­tara, will be the es­tab­lish­ment of a Whole­sale Elec­tric­ity Spot Mar­ket (WESM) in the grid – which could then soak up un-con­tracted ca­pac­i­ties and make it avail­able in the mar­ket for will­ing buy­ers.

“We’re wait­ing for WESM. It will be good for the diesel busi­ness be­cause it is ready to sup­ply at a mo­ment’s no­tice. So if there is any in­ter­rup­tion in the grid, NGCP (Na­tional Grid Cor­po­ra­tion of the Philip­pines) through WESM can ac­tu­ally buy the power that is avail­able from our three diesel lo­ca­tions,” he said.

The other mile­stone the com­pany has been closely watch­ing is the planned in­ter­con­nec­tion of VisayasMin­danao grids; which NGCP just re­cently an­nounced to be done via Cebu-Dipolog route.

“Frankly speak­ing, we be­lieve that it (grid in­ter­con­nec­tion) is go­ing to be good for us be­cause we are al­ready in Min­danao and we have proven that we can have economies of scale,” Al­can­tara noted.

With the link-up, he noted that their six fa­cil­i­ties would be able to share ca­pac­i­ties in Visayas and even the in­ter­con­nected grid of Lu­zon with­out nec­es­sar­ily repli­cat­ing power plant con­struc­tion in the two other grids. (MMV)

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