First Gen breaks ground for new power plant

By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 14 2014 03:02 PM | Updated as of Jan 14 2014 11:02 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The Lopez-led First Gen Corp. broke ground Tuesday for a gas-fired 414-megawatt power plant beside its existing Sta. Rita-San Lorenzo natural gas plants in Batangas City.

The power plant, which will be called San Gabriel, is targeted to be finished in 2016 and will also utilize natural gas from the Malampaya platform and eventually from imported liquified natural gas.

The Lopez group plans to construct 2 more 414-megawatt gas-fired plants, which will begin construction from 2017 bringing the total new power output at a little over 1,300 megawatts.

The company said each plant will cost $600 million or around P27 billion.

"This 414 megawatts of San Gabriel is really just the first of 3 such additional plants planned for site. Our vision is to build an additional 1,342 megawatts between now and 2019," said First Gen chairman Federico Lopez.

The Lopez group currently has 1,500 megawatts capacity from their Sta. Rita and San Lorenzo plants.

With these new plants, it stands to increase its power output from natural gas to more than 2,800 megawatts from natural gas.

In his speech, First Gen president Francis Giles Puno said, "Without new power supply, consumers in the Luzon grid will suffer from rotating brownouts and or pay for running more costly and less efficient oil-fired plants. The shortage will also disrupt the country's positive growth momentum and hamper government's efforts to create more jobs."

Lopez, meanwhile, said that "adding more capacity like San Gabriel will lessen our dependence on these expensive oil-fired peaking plants and have the effect of taming opportunistic behavior that can ensue from tight supply conditions."