Aquino assures enough power supply

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

MANILA -- President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday led the groundbreaking of First Gen Corp.’s San Gabriel Power Plant Project, saying the project will ensure sufficient supply of power in the country as well as attract more investors.

The $600-million project has three phases and the first unit to be built by First Gen will be producing 414 megawatts to supply the Luzon grid.

“This plant also bodes well for our country’s continued growth. Our economy hinges on having adequate power. After all, it is growing at a rapid pace—and we want to sustain this. Businesses are continually seeing the Philippines as an ideal investment destination,” the President said in his message during the groundbreaking rites.

“And we must continue doing our utmost to be able to tell investors: If you decide to set up shop in the Philippines, an adequate energy supply for your factories and facilities will be as low as possible on your list of things to worry about," he added.

By 2016, he said the government expects the Luzon grid to experience more energy demand rising to 11,000 megawatts from today’s 10,294 megawatts.

From this year to 2016, the government sees various companies to build new plants in Luzon, redounding to a total of 2,412 megawatts in generation capacity, he said.

The 414 megawatts to be produced by San Gabriel’s Phase 2 will augment that generation capacity, he added.

The goal of the government is not simply to meet demand, but to surpass it, the President said.

“We intend to have a safe surplus of generating capacity. The effect of Typhoon Yolanda on our generation capacity in the Visayas should serve as a lesson. Yolanda most prominently impaired major geothermal power plants in Leyte,” he said.

The combined generation capacity of the plants went from 482 megawatts to zero, he said resulting to a power deficit in the region.

Lack of power hampered recovery efforts, affected the communication systems and government basic services as well as the productivity of the people, he noted.

The situation also calls on the government to reassess the country’s energy sources and their effects on the environment, the President said adding that in the coming years the country will focus on producing more efficient forms of energy especially with the use of natural gas.

“Natural gas plants emit only half as much carbon compared to coal-powered power plants. This means cleaner energy; it means that despite our status as a less-industrialized nation, we are doing our part to not exacerbate the risks posed by climate change,” Aquino said.

The government expects that from now to 2030, the share of the use of natural gas in the total primary energy supply will go from 8 percent to 14 percent, a major step in fulfilling the country’s obligation of limiting the risk of climate change.

The new energy project will ensure enough supply of power in the country and thus attract business, he said. In turn this will result to more jobs to be created that eventually strengthens the people’s purchasing power.

“Having adequate energy infrastructure makes it easier for businesses here to stay and expand—and for new businesses to decide to invest heavily in the Philippines,” said Aquino.

First Gen has 15 power plants that are contracted for sale under long-term power purchase agreements or other energy sales agreements.

First Gen already has the 1,000 megawatt Sta. Rita gas-fired power plant and the 500-MW San Lorenzo plant in Batangas. In addition to the first unit launched on Tuesday, First Gen will be building two more power generation units to be completed few years from now. (SDR/Sunnex)

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