MANILA, Philippines—Local power firm Millennium Energy Inc. is looking to expand the 620-megawatt Limay combined cycle power plant in Bataan, and eventually convert the facility to run using fuel sources other than diesel.
In an interview with reporters, Millennium Energy president Miguel Jose C. Valencia explained that they had tapped a third party consultant to look into the feasibility of the expansion and conversion of the Limay power facility, which the company acquired from conglomerate San Miguel Corp. in 2011.
“The study is ongoing, in fact, since last year. Once we complete the study, then we’ll have more definitive timetable [for expansion and conversion],” Valencia said.
He, however, did not divulge details on the capacity being targeted for expansion and the fuel sources they have been eyeing for conversion. When asked about possible conversion to use natural gas, Valencia only noted that “the problem with [liquefied natural gas] is the supply and storage of supply. That costs a lot of capitalization.”
Should Millennium Energy proceed with these plans, the company is more inclined to do the projects on its own rather than take in new partners.
“Right now, there is no drive towards that direction [of taking in new partners]. There is no intention. So if ever we expand, it will be internally funded,” Valencia added.
For now, Millennium Energy is looking for ways to bring down the cost of fuel and therefore, the cost of power generated Limay, which is currently considered a “peaking plant.” The facility, in the past, has also been tapped as a “must-run unit” whenever power supply in Luzon became tight.
The high cost of diesel, which was needed to run the plant, was also among the reasons why San Miguel decided to divest out of the Limay power plant after only two years of owning and operating it, San Miguel president Ramon S. Ang earlier said.
San Miguel also earlier embarked on studies to determine the feasibility of converting the Limay power plant. These studies showed, however, that at least $1 billion would be needed to convert the facility to run using LNG. There were also previous plans of doubling the power plant’s capacity to 1,200 MW, which, alone, may already cost some $600 million.
Commissioned in 1993, the Limay power plant comprises two 310-MW modules, Blocks A and B, which consist of three 70-MW gas turbines and a 100-MW steam turbine, respectively. Located in Limay, Bataan, in Central Luzon, or approximately 145 kilometers west of Manila, the plant is designed to meet the base-load demand of the Luzon grid.