by Alena Mae S. Flores
Aboitiz Power Corp. plans to initially spend an estimated P25 billion of its own money instead of seeking funding from lending institutions to speed up the construction of a 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Davao City and Davao del Sur province.
“We will initially invest our own funds to start construction and seeking financing later,” Luis Miguel Aboitiz, senior vice president of Aboitiz Power, said.
The Davao coal plant will become a unit of subsidiary Therma South Inc. Aboitiz Power has committed to supply Mindanao’s power needs with the expected surge in demand from communities, industries, investments and commercial establishments.
“The region needs a steady supply of power to fuel its growth, as industries, investments and businesses expand. This, in turn, will provide livelihood and development to communities. As communities and households increase, so will their demand for electrical power as well,” Manuel Orig, Aboitiz Power first vice president for Mindanao affairs, said.
The demand for electricity in Davao and the rest of Mindanao is growing steadily but supply has lagged behind the baseload capacity.
Government estimates show that unless power supply generation is increased soon, Mindanao will face a power shortage. By 2014, the shortage will be around 480 MW—enough to cut off the entire power supply to the cities of Davao, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, Zamboanga and Butuan.
Orig said that unless the proposed power plant was built soon, the energy supply situation in Mindanao would become more precarious, especially with the dry season this year. Dry months usually bring down the water level in Lake Lanao, which in turn lowers the energy-generating capacity of the Agus-Pulangi hydropower complex—Mindanao’s power supply.
Orig assured residents and local government units that the proposed 300-MW coal plant in southern Davao was safe and would not harm the environment or the communities surrounding it.