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New Davao coal plant opens

A 150-megawatt coal power plant built by Aboitiz Power Corp. in Davao City is now ready for full commercial operations, becoming the first power facility to open in Mindanao in a decade that will help ease the electricity shortage in the region.

Aboitiz Power said in a statement Tuesday the first unit of the coal power project built by subsidiary Therma South Inc. was now fully operational, delivering 150 megawatts to Mindanao.

Aboitiz Power said the first of the two 150-MW units of the power project would begin delivering electricity on Sept. 18 to more than 20 customers, including electric cooperatives and distribution utilities all over Mindanao.

“We have informed our customers and our stakeholders that we are now officially in commercial operations and supplying Mindanao with reliable and cost-effective baseload power,” Therma South president and chief operating officer Benjamin  Cariaso Jr. said.

“We are here not only to help Mindanao solve the current power crisis. The Aboitiz group is committed to helping Mindanao sustain its economic growth and fulfill its potential,” Cariaso said.

The second 150-MW unit is scheduled for commercial operations in early 2016, he said.

The power plant started construction in 2012 and, at its peak, employed more than 4,500 workers, mostly from ihost communities.

It is the first major power plant added to the Mindanao grid since 2006, according to Aboitiz Power.

The power plant also features the first “coal dome” in Southeast Asia – a modern coal storage facility that will ensure security of the fuel and safety and well-being of the surrounding areas.

The power plant will utilize circulating fluidized bed technology to ensure it meets government standards on health, safety and protection of the environment while operating in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

The power plant will supply power to major cities of Davao, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Butuan, Kidapawan Cotabato and Tagum.

It will also serve the provinces of Davao, Caraga, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, parts of Bukidnon, parts of Misamis and parts of Zamboanga peninsula.

Aboitiz Power president and chief operating officer Antonio Moraza earlier said unit 2 was expected to start commercial operations early next year.

Unit 2 suffered delays due to the technical problems arising from the seven-hour system-wide blackout in Mindanao on April 5.

The blackout  damaged Therma South’s equipment which resulted in the delay of commercial operations of unit 2 of the coal project by 10 months.

“Initial findings show that the disruption unfortunately caused damage to the auxiliary components to the boiler of unit 2. Affected areas and components include air-preheater as well as the electrostatic precipitator, which part of the power plant’s pollution control system,” Aboitiz Power said in a statement earlier.

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