Php330B needed for Mindanao coal plant buyout

gnpower kauswagan

The government will have to spend P330 billion for it to be able to buy out coal power plants in Mindanao, as part of the Philippines’ commitment to cut on carbon emissions at the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Summit, also known as the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26).

A Manila Bulletin report cites that the Department of Energy (DOE) came up with the figure based on the number of existing operating coal facilities down South.

Mindanao’s major coal plants include the 600-megawatt (MW) facility of SMC Global Power Holdings in Malita, Davao Occidental; the 552MW GNPower Kauswagan coal plant in Lanao del Norte; the 405MW plant of Filinvest Development Corporation in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental; Aboitiz Power Corporation’s 300MW Therma South plant in Davao City; and the 210MW coal plant of Alsons Power Group in Sarangani.

The rule-of-thumb cost in putting up a coal plant is pegged at $3 million (around Php152 million) per megawatt.

Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez III said back in April that the government was planning to buy Mindanao’s”old” coal plants with the intention of closing them down, but most of the southern island’s major coal facilities were opened between 2016 and 2020, based on DOE data. The said plants have also since then served as major power sources of the Mindanao Grid, with the derating of the Agus-Pulangi Hydropower Complex.

Dominguez leads the 19-man Philippine delegation to the COP26, which will focus on climate finance.

Despite implementing a moratorium on the building of new coal plants beginning last year, the DOE is not keen on a coal phaseout in Mindanao. Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi cited that the Mindanao has the highest growth in electricity demand at 7.9% compared to Visayas’ 7.3% and Luzon’s 6.2%.

Photo from GNPower website.