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New 600-MW coal plant eyed

South Luzon Thermal Energy Corp., a joint venture between Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp. and AC Energy Holdings Inc. of the Ayala Group of Companies, may put up another 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Batangas province.

The power plant will serve as an expansion of the 270-MW coal-fired plant that is nearing full completion in the province.

Trans-Asia of the Phinma Group received approval from the Energy Department to conduct a grid impact study for the proposed new 600-MW coal power plant.

The planned new coal project is included in the latest list of projects cleared by the department to conduct an impact study to determine the capability of the grid to absorb the new power capacity.

A source said Trans-Asia wanted to determine ahead “the transmission line requirements” needed for the project.

South Luzon is a 50-50 joint venture between Trans-Asia and AC Energy.

The company formally inaugurated the first 135-MW unit of the 270-MW coal plant in Calaca, Batangas in June.

South Luzon invested P23 billion for the project. Completion of the second 135-MW unit is expected the end of this year.

The company will operate as a base load plant and sell its entire capacity to Trans-Asia through a 15-year power purchase agreement.

South Luzon is accelerating the development of its coal project in Batangas, buoyed by the strength of the Philippine economy and the growth in demand for electricity.

The South Luzon consortium earlier awarded the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the first phase of the coal plant to DM Consunji Inc.

The coal plant, located in Barangay Puting Bato West, Calaca, Batangas, will use coal from Semirara Mining Corp. and Indonesian suppliers.

Trans Asia may also build a 600-megawatt coal fired power plant in Pangasinan province.

The energy department earlier allowed Trans-Asia to conduct the grid impact study for the two 300-MW Baquioen circulating fluidized bed coal fired power plants in Sual, Pangasinan.

Trans-Asia earlier announced it aimed to double its power generation capacity to 1,200 megawatt over the next five years.

Trans-Asia president Francisco Viray said the company had an existing portfolio of around 600 MW, which could be doubled by 2020.

“It can be done,” Viray said, adding that the additional capacity would come from the participation in the remaining assets of the government up for privatization and greenfield power projects such as new wind farms.

The additional capacity will require investments of about $1.2 billion in the next five years.

“We will prioritize remaining privatization of PSALM [Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp.] of CBK and Casecnan hydro plants. We like CBK because it’s in Luzon,” Viray said.

The government announced plans to privatize CBK and Casenan hydro power plants by offering its contracted capacities to the independent power producer administrator. It has not yet set a definite bidding date.

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