By Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) | Updated May 8, 2017 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Consunji-led Semirara Mining and Power Corp. is spending up to $190 million to rehabilitate its old plants in Calaca, Batangas, which will not only raise the plants’ capacity, but also lessen emissions.
Semirara chairman and CEO Isidro Consunji said the rehabilitation plan for the 2x300-megawatt (MW) Sem-Calaca Power Corp. would cost “$160 to $190 million, more or less.”
The amount is higher than the $150 to $160 million budget announced last year.
“There will be an upgrade of the emission area. These two plants were built prior to Clean Air Act,” Consunji said.
Currently, the ageing plants are undergoing the first phase of the rehabilitation program which is the capacity uprating.
At present, the plant is running at 500 MW capacity and is targeted to run up to 600 MW of its nominal capacity.
The next phase, which will entail installation of a new generator, will extend the economic life of the plants for another 20 years.
Consunji said the process is cheaper than building new plants and this will happen in 2019. “We’re extending the capacity of Units 1 and 2. Unit 1 is more than 35 years old, the other one is 30 years old,” he said.
The rehabilitation will also allow the plants to consume unwashed local coal, instead of relying on imported coal, the company official said.
The Consunji Group won the auction for the Calaca plants in July 2009 with its bid of $362 million. At that time, the plants were only producing 340 MW.
The Calaca plant was expanded with a new 2x150 MW power plant under Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corp., which started commercial operations in February last year.
The company is working on another expansion, a 2x350 MW coal fired power plant under St. Raphael Power Generation Corp., a joint venture between Semirara and Meralco Powergen Corp.
The joint venture is also waiting for a third partner, Japan’s Marubeni Corp., which will take in 20 percent.
“They are supposed to get 20 percent. I think the projection is the price of electricity will go down because everybody is building. So I think Marubeni is currently trying to fill up a buyer for his 20 percent,” Consunji said.
Semirara, MGen and Marubeni have signed an agreement in April last year and asked for six months before officially becoming part of the consortium. The Japanese firm, however, asked for an additional 90 days for the finalization of its entry.