Geothermal plants to go on stream this year
Energy Development Corp., the country’s biggest producer of geothermal energy, is set to finally complete within the year the rehabilitation of two geothermal complexes it acquired from the government, the 150-megawatt Bacon-Manito (BacMan) and the 305-MW Palinpinon-Tongonan power plants.
The completion of the rehab activities is expected to help shore up power supply and, at the same time, contribute to increasing the company’s electricity revenues.
According to EDC president Richard B. Tantoco, the BacMan facilities may start full operations by September this year to generate 130 MW. The geothermal facilities were practically inoperable, with a generating availability of only 3 percent when EDC acquired them from the government in 2010.
Tantoco admitted that they were “quite disappointed” as they were not able to complete the rehabilitation of BacMan in June last year, which he said was their “best case” assumption. However, the September target was still within the original schedule or what he called as the “base case assumption.”
“We started running one unit [of BacMan] last December. There are really some issues you will find in the unit after it hasn’t run in five to seven years. We ran it for 400 hours but we decided to shut down and fix it a little more,” he explained.
For the Palinpinon and Tongonan facilities, EDC expects to complete the rehab for the four remaining units also within the year.
Tantoco explained that the issue mainly with the Palinpinon-Tongonan complex was that the equipment was already old. More than increasing the capacity, the target for these facilities was to increase operational efficiencies so these would run again at their full capacities, he said.
When EDC acquired the Palinpinon and Tongonan geothermal plants in 2009, they were running at 180 MW and 84 MW, respectively.
EDC, through its wholly owned subsidiary, BacMan Geothermal Inc., submitted the highest bid of $28.25 million for the BacMan geothermal power plant package during the bidding in May 2010.
The BacMan I geothermal facility has two 55-MW turbines, both commissioned in 1993, while the BacMan II facility also has two 20-MW units: Cawayan located in Barangay (village) Basud and Botong in Osiao, Sorsogon City. The Cawayan unit started operating in 1994, while the Botong unit was commissioned in 1998. The Lopez affiliate currently provides the steam for these facilities.
The Palinpinon and Tongonan power plants were acquired by EDC in 2010 through its subsidiary Green Core Geothermal Inc., after submitting the highest bid of $220 million.
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