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Aboitiz-Ayala coal venture starts operations in August

Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) - June 13, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — GNPower Dinginin Ltd. Co. (GNPD), an Aboitiz-controlled firm with Ayala’s power unit as partner, is working to restart commissioning and commercial operations of its 668-megawatt (MW) Unit 1 coal-fired plant to augment the capacity of its Luzon grid.

However, the current international travel ban puts at risk the timely completion of its Unit 2 plant, targeted to start operating in the first quarter of next year.

GNPD is developing a 2x668-MW supercritical coal-fired power project in Mariveles, Bataan.

ERC chairperson Agnes Devanadera said GNPD is scheduled to commence operating in August this year.

GNPD vice president Roberto Racelis Jr. said the company is working closely with government and industry stakeholders in making sure the capacity of Unit 1 is provided to the grid without delay.

“Despite the unprecedented challenges during this pandemic, GNPD has continued construction activities throughout while maintaining strict protocols to ensure the health and safety of the thousands of workers employed to achieve this,” he said.

“With compliance to EVOSS Law and mindful of pandemic conditions, we are confident that the regulatory processes are in place to enable GNPD to secure all necessary approvals and permits to dispatch for commercial operations of its unit 1 at its full net capacity of 668MW,” Racelis said.

GNPD suspended testing and commissioning activities on the Dinginin Plant last May 31—when the Luzon grid experienced rotational brownouts—due to a technical issue, which was reported to the ERC on June 3.

“Such suspensions are expected to occur during these testing activities for various reasons, such as, in this case, a boiler tube leak that was beyond the control of GNPD,” Racelis said.

The company official said remedial measures are being undertaken to resolve the issue and enable Unit 1 to resume testing and commissioning and augment supply to the grid.

“GNPD, as soon as it has resolved technical issues, is prepared to deliver Unit 1’s maximum net capacity of 668 MW during this critical period especially when operating margins are thin and to help the country as it fights back against the ongoing pandemic,” Racelis said.

However, for the second unit, GNPD said the current international travel ban is delaying the arrival of specialists from various equipment suppliers, causing delays in construction and commissioning works of power plants in the country.

“The delay in mobilizing technical field advisors, operating and maintenance, construction and performance and testing staff will result in a day for day delay to the completion of the entire GNPD project,” Racelis said.

“The continuing unavailability of these critical personnel risks the timely completion of GNPD’s unit 2 in time for the peak demand season in 2022 to help avoid price spikes in the WESM and frequent red alerts as the economy recovers from the pandemic,” he said.

Construction for the first unit commenced in September 2016 and was supposed to be completed in 2019. Meanwhile, the second unit started construction in December 2017 with completion six months after the first unit.

GNPD is a joint venture among Aboitiz Power Corp., AC Energy Corp. and Power Partners Ltd. Co. AboitizPower owns a 70 percent effective partnership interest in GNPD.

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