MGEN launches San Buenaventura coal plant

Meralco PowerGen (MGEN) officially inaugurated its 500 MW San Buenaventura coal-fired power plant (SBPL) at Mauban, Quezon on October 15.

The country’s first supercritical coal-fired power plant is a result of a joint venture between MGen and Thai energy firm New Growth B.V., which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Electricity Generating Company of Thailand (EGCO). The power plant’s mechanism allows it to generate electricity with less emissions. 

The P56.2 billion power plant , which started its commercial operation on September 26, is currently generating power for the Luzon grid.

In addition, it is seen to provide additional supply to the Luzon grid which is timely as the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) announced a yellow power alert yesterday.

Chairperson of Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Atty. Agnes VST Devanadera said the switch-on ceremony of SBPL stands as a response to NGCP’s declaration of yellow power alert in the Luzon grid.

She also lauded the successful development of the project.

“No plant like this can ever go up without the support of the community and of course, the community, Mauban, is very lucky to have very good and responsible investors. This is the recipe that can make or break a project. We are happy that we have the best ingredients in this project,” Devanadera said.

Also present during the event was Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi, in which he reiterated the energy department’s stand of being a technology neutral.

“The problem with that, the country needs capacity. Energy security is primary. All sources of energy gagamitin ko, my concern now is to have electricity, to have power that we can use,” Cusi said.

He added that as of now, the country cannot be “choosy” when it comes to utilizing different energy source as we still lack in energy security. Other countries can be selective as they are already energy secured.

“It is our obligation to really do it as the authority. We are doing this to address energy security not only for now, for the near future and the next generation,” he concluded.

Other attendees of the ceremony were DOE Undersecretary Felix Fuentebella, Ambassador of Thailand to the Philippines Vasin Ruangprateepsaeng, Mauban Mayor Marita Llamas, and executive from Meralco and EGCO Groups.

The power plant was built by the consortium of South Korea’s Daelim Industrial Co. Ltd. and Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp. Both are experienced engineering, procurement, and construction contractors.

The power plant entered its first phase of construction in 2015 with an initial budget of P42.15 billion.

SBPL is the first majority-owned, commercially operating power plant since the company decided to return to the generation business.