Aboitiz Power: Responsible power producer
FULL DISCLOSURE - Fidel Abalos (The Freeman) - October 21, 2019 - 12:00am

About 10 years ago, Mindanao had a severe power shortage. Reportedly, on February 23, 2010, Mindanao’s generation deficit posted its biggest single day rise to 358 megawatts. Then, sometime in 2012, in a stakeholders’ meeting, it was disclosed that despite the multi-million peso rehabilitation works of Pulangui Power Plant IV in Maramag, Bukidnon, and the Agus 6 hyrdoelectric plant in the Agus River in Lanao del Norte, Mindanao still lacked 200 megawatts.

Consequently, since 2010,due to frequent power interruptions, some residents had to use gas lamps. Worse, businessmen had no other recourse but ran their factories with generators. Considering the prices of diesel then, factories in Mindanaohad to bear the brunt of higher manufacturing cost. Thus, they had become less competitive.

To address this concern then, coal-fired power plants were being considered. One of those that responded and established a coal-fired power plant was Aboitiz Power Corporation, through its subsidiary, Thermal South Inc. (TSI).Situated in Toril, Davao City and one of the major players, it influentially helped address Mindanao’s power shortage.

Notably, in our recent tour (with some Cebu-based media practitioners), we were informed that Mindanao has energy supply far beyond itscurrent demand. Undeniably, a very positive development that prospective investors will gladly embrace.

However, though most of us are probably one in admitting that these coal-fired power plants are the most reliable and are producing reasonably priced energy, other sectors may also have some concerns. More often, the fuel residues or the coal ash.

Truth to tell, the fuel source alone (coal), may generate a lot of concerns. However, this concern could be true if a certain coal-fired power plant is using the old technology. The fact is, today, new technologies have allayed fears about emissions and disposals of residues. One good example is that of Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA). JEA is burning coal and petroleum coke in its plants in Jacksonville, Florida, USA using the circulating fluidized-bed (CFB) technology. Notably, one of its plants was formerly considered the largest in the world using CFB combustors.

CFB technology, according to JEA,“is an advanced method for burning coal and other fuels efficiently while removing air emissions inside the sophisticated combustor system.”Using solid fuels like coal and sorbents (like limestone), the end result in this technology is that “as the particles continue to decrease in size, unreacted fuel, ash, and fine limestone particles are swept out of the combustor, collected in a particle separator (also called a cyclone), and recycled to the lower portion of the combustor.”This is the "circulating" nature of the combustor, the JEA added.

Moreover, an innovative application has been employed by JEAto recycle both the bottom ash and fly ash from its CFBboilers as a stabilizer for non-cohesive sands, which are typical of north Florida. Now, being marketed, the results of laboratory testing and numerous field applications in the immediate market area illustrate that the product they developed from coal ash is effective in stabilizing sandy soils in pavement and roadway construction applications.

The good thing is, this technology (CFB) is currently used by TSI. The same is true too in its disposal of coal ash as some contractors are also using them.  It is noteworthy too that TSI, as broached to us by Jean Karl Y. Huyatid, Aboitiz Power’s Branding and Corporate Communication Specialist, is planning to let its immediate community benefit from the fly ash.

As a means of livelihood, TSI plans to provide them the fly ash and the technology to manufacture bricks out of these residues. Absolutely, this laudable act will certainly help the beneficiaries have better lives.

Moreover, Aboitiz Power does not only generate energy from coal or fossil fuel.  Appropriately termed “cleanergy”, about 28 percent of its produced energy comes from geothermal, hydro and solar farms. More importantly, not only that it strives to produce a substantial amount of clean energy, it also help in nurturing biodiversity by supporting “Pangarap”, a Philippine eagle, and by protecting the endangered sea turtles’ habitat in its Cleanergy Park in Davao City.

Indeed, true to its promise, Aboitiz Power Corporation is advancing business and communities. Truly, a responsible power producer.

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