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Semirara to tap local coal for 50-MW plant

The Energy Department and Semirara Mining and Power Corp. signed an agreement to build a 50-megawatt mine-mouth power plant in Antique province.

“We assisted the development of a mine-mouth coal-fired power plant or a power plant using indigenous coal as fuel to address the growth in the baseload demand and required reserves of Semirara Island along with other neighboring islands and provinces,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said in a statement.

The memorandum of understanding was signed by Cusi, Semirara Mining president and chief operating officer Victor Consunji and chairman and chief executive Isidro Consunji on Aug. 14.

National Power Corp. president Pio Benavidez, National Transmission Corp. president Melvin Matibag, Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative General Manager Patrocinio Panagsagan Jr. and Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative general manager Alfred Dantis witnessed the signing.

Cusi said Semirara Mining would construct an initial 50-MW mine-mouth plant while Transco would enable the construction of the transmission lines. 

“It will provide reliable, secured and much more affordable power to Occidental and Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque and Romblon, and even Palawan, which already signified interest,” Cusi said.

The department will endorse the power project as an energy project of national significance under Executive Order No. 30 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte in June.

The project will form a part of the annually updated Philippine Energy Plan and Power Development Plan.

“What we are doing is creating solutions for our perennial energy problems in the island provinces,” Cusi said.

The Energy Department issued Coal Operating Contract No. 5 to SMPC for a coal mining project in Semirara Island in Caluya, Antique in 1977.

Semirara Mining is the country’s biggest coal producer whose coal mine is located in Caluya, Antique.

Cusi said the project would likely be completed in three years. 

Cusi earlier said power from Semirara’s mine mouth coal project would be delivered via submarine cable estimated to cost over P1 billion to address the power demand of Mindoro Island, which is considered an off-grid area.

“The problem is we have  7,000 islands. Very few have consistent power for 24 hours, most of them just eight to 10 hours,” the official said.

“For the country to be developed, it should not only be the mainland with power. We should also help develop island provinces so they can develop industries because now power is intermittent in those area,” Cusi said.

He said government was trying to find a solution for a “consistent” power at an affordable price.

Topics: Department of Energy , Semirara Mining and Power Corp. , 50-megawatt mine-mouth power plant , Antique province , Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi
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