EDC resident manager Alejandro Catacutan of the Mindanao Geothermal Production Field (MGPF) said that there is already a shortage in terms of power requirements for Mindanao.
“Our dependable capacity is not enough to cover such deficiency,” Catacutan told Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo in a briefing on Mindanao power situation.
Robredo, together with Cotabato 2nd district Rep. Nancy Catamco, Cotabato Governor Lala Taliño-Mendoza, and officials of the Kidapawan City government, visited the Mindanao geothermal production field where they were also informed of the EDC’s plan to construct another geothermal plant at Mount Apo.
The construction of the project dubbed as Mindanao 3, according to Catacutan, is ‘indispensable’ or ‘necessary’ to respond to the looming power crisis, which will affect Mindanao starting next year.
“Under normal power system, your capacity should be at least 20 percent over the peak demand. So, this is necessary because you should have some contingency in case a power plant bogs down or if it needs to undergo a scheduled maintenance,” said Catacutan.
The deficit in power requirement next year is between 3 to 5 percent, which, data showed, is estimated at 150 megawatts.
Catacutan said the construction of Mindanao geothermal power plant 3 is set to commence in August next year. The company needs some US$ 150 million to complete the project, he added.
While Mindanao 3 can help, it is, however, not the ‘total solution’ to the power crisis, since the plant can only produce 50 megawatts.
“In effect, it will only answer a faction of the deficit, because it’s only 50 megawatts as against 150 megawatts for next year,” Catacutan told media.
In 10 years time, data showed, Mindanao needs some 800 megawatts of power supply to meet the demand of a fast-growing economy and increasing population.
During the briefing, Robredo asked about the requirements that must be complied by the EDC before it could operate another plant at Mt. Apo. One of the issues he raised was about the permits.
Catacutan admitted the firm has yet to get an endorsement from the LGU before the project could start.
Earlier, City Mayor Rodolfo Gantuangco said he is not keen on endorsing the project after EDC was granted an exemption to pay some P45 million of real property taxes starting this year.
Gantuangco said the exemption has affected the Special Education Fund (SEF) of the city LGU, which is used to pay the salaries of some 189 locally-hired teachers.
Catacutan, however, is optimistic the city LGU will see the importance of constructing an additional power plant to respond to a bigger problem starting next year and the years to come.
“What is so nice about Mindanao 3 is that it can operate all-year round. It’s not affected by weather. Besides, Mindanao 3 is a renewable energy, so, it has less carbon dioxide emission and is very clean. We have all the advantages if we construct Mindanao 3. It will answer partially the crisis,” he said. (PNA)