First Gen adds 511MW to natural gas portfolio
Lopez-controlled First Gen Corp. on Friday launched its 414-megawatt (MW) San Gabriel combined-cycle and 97-MW Avion open cycle natural gas-fired power plants in Santa Rita, Batangas, both of which run on natural gas — fossil fuel that produces, on average, 70 percent less emissions than coal when burned.
“It’s critical that the country looks ahead and anticipates the trajectory of technology and other forces ultimately steering us toward a decarbonized world,” First Gen chair and CEO Federico Lopez said in his speech during the plants’ inauguration. “We have the opportunity to leapfrog old 20th century technology, like coal plants, and instead build for the 21st.”
In constructing San Gabriel, First Gen tapped Siemens AG for the German company’s latest, highly flexible and 59-percent efficient gas turbine technology, under the brand name “Flex-Plant”. San Gabriel marks the first time that Siemens has brought a Flex-Plant to the country. The Flex-Plant technology helps enable a more stable and reliable grid amid increasing installations of intermittent energy.
The San Gabriel Flex-Plant can be turned on and off on a daily basis in time to serve the power requirements of schools, offices and shopping malls. Unlike other power plants, it can be brought online in 10 minutes and ramped up to full capacity in as quickly as 32 minutes. San Gabriel likewise has the ability of being a baseload power plant providing 24/7 service.
Avion, meanwhile, is the first power plant in the Philippines to run on aircraft engines for land-based power generation application. It will use two units of the LM6000 PC Sprint aero-derivative gas turbines from General Electric.
The Avion power plant has the capability to run not only on natural gas but also on diesel. Avion’s turbines can be online in 7 minutes and can achieve full load in less than 20 minutes. Avion has the capability to do unlimited daily starts and stops to provide power that can stabilize the grid. Such attributes make Avion an ideal merchant peaking plant.
“The clean and flexible characteristics of these power plants also make them ideal partners in the move towards a low carbon world by stabilizing the grid amid any concern on intermittency, particularly from renewable energy plants like wind and solar as we can easily ramp up to meet the energy demands when needed,” First Gen president and COO Puno said.
San Gabriel and Avion reinforce First Gen’s use of natural gas, the same fuel for the company’s 1,000-MW Santa Rita and 500-MW San Lorenzo power plants. All four plants, which are located in the First Gen Clean Energy Complex in Batangas, comprise roughly 60 percent of the country’s natural gas capacity.
The 511-MW additional capacity to the First Gen portfolio cements the company’s position as the country’s leading clean and renewable energy company powered by indigenous gas, wind, hydro and solar fuels. The new facilities bring First Gen’s fleet of power plants to 21 with a total installed capacity of 3,470 MW.
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