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Experts defer for 1 year proposed RP Energy coal plant in Subic.

THE planned 2x300-megawatt (MW) circulating-fluidized bed (CFB) coal-fired power plant of Redondo Peninsula Energy Inc. (RP Energy) in Subic, Zambales, would be revisited next year after experts recommended 'to let it rest for one rainy season.'

RP Energy Inc. is a partnership among Manila Electric Co., Aboitiz Power Corp. and Taiwan Cogeneration Corp. through their respective subsidiaries.

AboitizPower Chief Operating Officer Emmanuel Rubio said management has engaged a consultant to look into the stability of the site, which remains to be a challenge aside from the power-supply agreement (PSA) pending before the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

RP Energy has cancelled the notice to proceed issued to the EPC contractor Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Co. Ltd., and Azul Torre Construction Inc. Among others, Rubio cited 'instability in one of the slopes' and 'a construction issue, something that was not foreseen' by the project proponent.

'The consultant's recommendation is to stabilize the slope first. Issues like this with geological conditions is very tricky. In fact, one of the recommendations, I believe, is to let it rest for one rainy season, and that rainy season is up to 2020.

There is now a recommendation on how to resolve the issue, which is up for approval in the next board.

There's a hill behind the site, that's the one that's moving, not the site itself. We just want to make sure we protect ourselves from that geological condition once we make a decision on putting up the plant,' Rubio said.

The proposal awaits board approval in June. Once approved, management can make use of the time to decide if it is viable to convert the plant into a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility or to a superior coal technology.

'Once approved, then they would have to work on the slope and with the recommendations to actually wait for it stabilize for one rainy season, I guess we have time to work on the plant technology up to at the end of rainy season 2020. Coal will always be an option. Maybe, there's an opportunity for us to consider a different technology-supercritical to ultra supercritical. That's why it's all options at the moment. It's good to be in a position where you a lot have options,' said Rubio, noting the proposed shift to LNG is among the options.

'The recommendations on all plant options are all early days. A number of options are just being presented, but there is no decision yet on which one to take,' he said.

Meralco PowerGen Corp. (MGen), a stakeholder of RP Energy, earlier said the shift to LNG is an option bring discussed with 'in-house experts.'

'We should be making a decision within the first half of this year regarding what to do next. We would have determined the technology and EPC. There are new technologies. It might no longer be CFB. We are also considering LNG,' MGen President Rogelio Singson earlier said.

If the coal power plant project would be converted to LNG, Singson said the capacity would 'depend on economics.'

'It might not be that big, depending on economics. In general, we're saying we're open to changing the technology from the original 2x300-MW CFB,' he said.

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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Apr 29, 2019
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