San Buenaventura Power Ltd. Co. (SBPL) on Wednesday marked the commercial operations of its new 500-Megawatt (MW) supercritical coal-fired power plant with a Switch-On Celebration led by Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

In his speech, President Duterte acknowledged SBPL’s effort to take a “crucial step towards energy security.”

“Let the success of this facility serve as a testament to the vast potential of the private sector to contribute to the government’s effort in addressing the deficiencies in energy generation and distribution across the country,” the President said.

The evening celebration, held at the Grand Hyatt Manila, was attended by top officials from the Department of Energy (DOE), Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), local government officials, diplomatic corps, and executives from Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), Meralco PowerGen Corporation (MGen), and Electricity Generating Company of Thailand (EGCO).

SBPL is a limited partnership between MGen, Meralco’s power generation arm; and New Growth BV, a wholly-owned subsidiary of EGCO.

President Duterte thanked the project proponents for increasing the capacity to help meet the growing electricity demand in Luzon.

“With your help, I am confident that we can chart a better future for the power industry as we march towards a sustainable and better future,” he said.

Wednesday’s event followed a ceremonial inauguration of the project held at the power plant site in Mauban, Quezon on October 15.

“The Philippine electric power industry welcomes the entry of new and emerging innovations, such as this plant’s supercritical power generation technology, which produces more efficient power generation, while emitting less greenhouse gases,” DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi said in his keynote speech during the ceremony.

“Bearing in mind that the energy choices we make today will affect future generations, I am glad to have been given the opportunity to participate in the inauguration of one of the most advanced and efficient plants in the country,” he added.

The SBPL supercritical coal-fired power plant, which is the first of its kind in the Philippines, now provides additional supply to the Luzon grid – which accounts for about 72% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

It uses a high efficiency, low emissions (HELE) coal technology that allows the plant to operate at increasingly higher temperatures and pressures to reach higher efficiencies,
while significantly reducing emissions.

Similar and more advanced coal plant technologies have been the choice for new commercial coal-fired plants in many countries around the world. As a pioneer of this technology, SBPL is setting the bar higher in operating coal plants in the Philippines.

“This is a very important milestone for MGen being our very first baseload power plant project that we started sometime in 2015 and finished on budget and on schedule. We are proud of this achievement,” said MGen President and CEO Rogelio L. Singson.

For her part, EGCO Vice Chairman Jaruwan Ruangswadipong said: “EGCO has been an investor in the Philippine power sector for over 20 years now. We hope to be a part of many for projects in the market. We are very confident in the capabilities of our partners in the Philippines and we are here for the long term.”

EGCO is the first independent power producer in Thailand. It has the state-owned Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) as a controlling shareholder.

Both EGCO and MGen believe in the importance of the strong partnership with their project’s host communities, which benefit from SBPL’s tax remittances and social development programs.

“No plant like this can ever go up without the support of the community. And of course, Mauban is very lucky that we have very good and responsible investors,” ERC Chairperson Agnes VST Devanadera said.

“This is the recipe that can make or break a project. We are happy that we have the best ingredients in this project,” she noted.

Mauban Mayor Marita Llamas said: “The local government unit is always grateful to all our partners’ program that we have always committed to the people. It is not just providing them with reliable electrification, rather it is our commitment to make Mauban a better place to live in.”

On a bigger scale, SBPL also aims to contribute in ensuring that there will be sufficient, reliable and cost-competitive baseload power to supply the country’s growing electricity need and support the government’s Build! Build! Build! infrastructure program.

“With the country’s aging existing power plants, we know how the DOE has been pushing for new baseload power plants to meet the country’s power development plan until 2030 and beyond with more reliable and affordable power supply,” said MGen’s Mr. Singson.

“We at MGen, are more committed than ever, to support new generating capacity with HELE technology in the near future and to include in our development plans, utility scale renewable energy projects,” he concluded.