BNPP site not fit for RP Energy coal-fired power plant, says Almendras
Energy Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras has junked proposals to use the site of the mothballed 630-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant for the planned 600-MW coal-fired power facility of Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc. (RP Energy).
In an interview, Almendras told reporters that the BNPP site was not equipped with the appropriate and necessary infrastructure that would allow the practical and immediate transfer of the project from the Subic Freeport to Bataan and still be able to start operations on schedule.
Almendras was reacting to reports that top officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) had asked President Aquino to relocate RP Energy’s proposed coal-fired power plant from the Subic Freeport to the BNPP site due to the potential danger it would pose on the free port and the mounting opposition from stakeholders of the economic zone.
The government is counting on the $1.28-billion coal project of RP Energy—a consortium composed of Manila Electric Co., Aboitiz Power Corp. and Taiwan Cogeneration—to provide the much-needed additional capacity to the Luzon grid by 2015.
“If it will be placed there, you will not meet the deadline. You have to dismantle some of the facilities. If you’re going to use that site for coal, you have to clear some areas and retrofit it,” Almendras said.
“Another issue was the unloading facility. The BNPP had no design for a port. The problem with coal is that you need to be in an area where you can unload the coal in huge quantities. A 600-MW coal-fired power plant will consume a lot of coal,” he said.
Almendras said the BNPP site was not the best location for a coal-fired power plant because it did not have logistical capability to handle the fuel itself.
He said a team of experts had looked at the BNPP and its possible conversion to accommodate other fuel types, including coal and natural gas.
However, the team had reportedly ruled out the conversion proposal, saying “it would not be feasible to convert it to a coal-fired facility, and it will also be very expensive to convert it to a natural gas-fired power plant.”
“The original plan was to have somebody look at BNPP and see whether they’re interested to build a coal-fired power plant there. But as I’ve said nobody has come back to say there’s any strategic advantage,” he said.
The government, however, remains keen on pushing for the RP Energy power project. It warns of a possible power supply shortage by 2015 if the construction of this power plant is stalled.
The power project will be undertaken in two phases, with the first 300-MW unit expected to start operations by 2015. Under the second phase, another 300-MW unit will be built.
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