650-MW addition to Luzon grid seen to fill power gap

Energy World Corp. owner Graham Elliott (in orange vest) tours investors around the liquified natural gas (LNG) plant site in Ibabang Polo, Pagbilao, Quezon, on Wednesday, September 21, 2022. Luzon should expect to get some respite from the power crunch with a 650-megawatt entry to the grid of the LNG plant by the first quarter of next year, Elliot said.

PAGBILAO, Quezon—Luzon should expect to get some relief from a serious power crunch with a 650-megawatt entry to the grid but this would come later by the first quarter of next year, the owner of the long-delayed Pagbilao liquefied natural gas-fired power station said on Wednesday.

Graham Elliott, owner and executive director of Energy World Corp., said its 650-MW power station in Barangay Ibabang Polo, 27 kilometers south of this town center of Pagbilao, is expected to operate by April next year.

The commissioning work would come after it completes this year the final phase in the construction of its two gas tur-bines, each with a capacity of 200 MW.

“We are looking at initial commissioning of works in April next year,” he told reporters here after touring investors around the plant site in Ibabang Polo.

Aside from the 400 MW on its two gas turbines, the Pagbilao LNG power station has another 250 MW on its turbines, “making our plant with effective 650 mw of power.”

The EWC project was supposed be onstream with the Luzon grid much earlier, but it grounded to a halt in 2018 when the transmission company National Grid Corp. of the Philippines failed to meet its initial target completion of its substation project by April-August 2018.

The NGCP Pagbilao substation will serve as the switchyard to which the power station of the EWC and those of three others would interconnect.  Elliott clarified that power stations like the EWC needed to interconnect to the supply power to the grid.  The NGCP identified two of the three other facilities waiting to interconnect with its delayed substation project:  420-megawatt (MW) Pagbilao Coal-Fired Power Plant Expansion, 500MW San Buenaventura Power Coal-Fired Power Plant and the 600MW Energy World Corporation Combined-Cycle Power Plant.

The Energy Regulatory Commission identified the third one as the 1,200-MW Atimonan Coal-Fired Power Plant.

“Unfortunately, for reasons beyond the control of Energy World Corp., NGCP was somewhat delayed in the construction and operation of that substation and that resulted in the delay of our project,” he said.

“However, I am excited and glad to say that the NGCP station is now almost complete and we understand that they will be energizing the station to receive power in October or November this year. And that has given us the confidence to restart work to complete the transmission line and to move forward with completing the power station and LNG hub terminal,” he added.

“At the moment, I don’t see any road blocks or hurdles placed on our way and… under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., in his first State of the Nation Address, talked about the use of LNG for the Philippines. We are excited to be part of this move to bring new clean fuel to the Philippines which we believe will help lower the cost of electricity by providing stable, reliable, clean and efficient power generation,” he said.

Currently, the EWC LNG power station and its LNG hub terminal “is approximately 80-85 percent complete in the LNG hub terminal and we are about 80 percent complete on the first 200-megawatt gas turbine unit. We are 70 percent complete on the second 200-MW gas turbine unit and then the steam turbine steam recovery generator would come on line 12 months after the first commissioning of the gas turbine.”

He said the project was designed to import LNG which could be acquired anywhere in the world market. The EWC hub terminal nearby has jetties “designed to take any size of ships on the world market trade of the LNG.” The LNG is cryogenic, frozen at negative 163 degrees Centigrade, and it will be sent to a heat changer regassification unit to change the LNG state to normal gas for use in the power station or export to third-party clients in the future, Elliot said.

The NGCP said that the new power sources awaiting interconnection with its Pagbilao substation would add a total of 1500 MW of power, and would ease the congestion in its nearby substations like the Tayabas substation.

Image credits: Manuel Cayon


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