Ensure safety of Batangas power plants after Taal eruption, solon says

DOE pushes for fast restoration of earthquake-affected power plants

Energy facilities in Luzon should be checked if they had been affected after the Volcano’s phreatic eruption last week, a solon told the Department of Energy (DOE).

Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. expressed his concerns over the effects Taal Volcano’s “explosive eruption” on significant power plants and oil and gas installations in Batangas.

“There are concerns that the volcano’s looming violent flare-up might get in the way of the operations of vital power plants as well as oil and gas installations in Batangas,” Campos was quoted in a statement.

“Apart from the vulnerability of (power plant) turbines to damage from severe ashfall, there are also concerns about the sensitivity of fuel facilities in the province to recurring volcanic tremors,” he said.

Seven power plants with a generating installed capacity of 4,305 MW are located in Batangas. The generating capacity of the said power plants is one-third of Luzon’s power generating capacity.

These power plants are: First Gen Corp.’s 1,000-MW Sta. Rita Combined Cycle Power Plant, 500-MW San Lorenzo Combined Cycle Power Plant, 414-MW San Gabriel Combined Cycle Power Plant, and 97-MW Avion Open Cycle Power Plant, all in Batangas City; SMC Global Power Holdings Corp.’s 1,200-MW Ilijan Combined Cycle Power Plant, also in Batangas City; Semirara Mining and Power Corp.’s 850-MW Coal-Fired Power Plant in the Municipality of Calaca; and AC Energy Philippines Inc.’s 244-MW Circulating Fluidized Bed Thermal Power Plant, also in Calaca.

Campos said DOE should formulate contingency plans if needed.

Operations of First Gen’s energy complex remain uninterrupted, however it added that “accumulating ashfall has the potential to cause damage to the plants’ gas turbines, which in turn could affect their ability to deliver power.”

Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., is still operating its 110,000-barrel per day oil refinery normally, while remaining alert.