Energy Development Corp., the country’s largest producer of geothermal energy, has resumed the operations of the 55-megawatt Unit 1 of the Bacon-Manito geothermal plants in Albay and Sorsogon.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange Monday, EDC said its subsidiary, BacMan Geothermal Inc., had started running Unit 1 on March 27 and was able to ramp up power generation to 55 MW on Monday (April 8).
BacMan Geothermal, however, intends to shut down Unit 1 again after 30 days of operation to inspect and assess the power facility’s condition.
“Based on the findings of such inspection, BacMan Geothermal will decide whether or not any restrictions to the future operation of Unit 1 will be necessary. The review will also determine the needed time intervals between future inspections of Unit 1,” EDC explained.
It can be recalled that EDC resumed the commercial operations of the BacMan facilities on Feb. 25 this year, generating a total of 110 MW then. Only the BacMan I facility—which has two 55-MW power units both commissioned in 1993—had been fully rehabilitated. The BacMan II facility, which has one remaining unit with a capacity of 20 MW unit, has yet to be put online.
Days after it resumed operations, EDC had to shut down the geothermal plants, after a turbine blade at the Unit 2 was sheared off. Unit 1 was similarly shut down even if it did not experience similar problems.
EDC said it was expected to generate P160 million in revenue per unit per month. At full commercial operations of 130 MW, EDC said total revenue could reach P4.3 billion yearly.
EDC acquired the geothermal complex from the government in 2010, during which the power plants were practically mothballed, with capacity of only 3 percent. Thus, the target of the rehabilitation, which started in 2010, was to ramp up the capacity to 130 MW.
The Lopez affiliate believed then that once rehabilitated and operational, the BacMan geothermal facilities would generate strong returns and cash flows from a vertically integrated operation.
EDC remains the largest producer of geothermal energy in the Philippines, accounting for 62 percent of the total installed geothermal capacity. It operates five geothermal projects with a total capacity of 1,130 MW and a hydropower project, the 132-MW Pantabangan-Masiway complex. Its operations account for 14 percent of the nation’s installed clean power generation, equivalent to the displacement of 114 million barrels of oil imports.