Global pursues Visayas coal project

By Neil Jerome C. Morales, The Philippine Star

Posted at Oct 03 2012 07:44 AM | Updated as of Oct 03 2012 03:44 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC) of the Metrobank Group will push through with the third phase of a coal project in Western Visayas.

The expansion is in line with the expected rise in demand in Iloilo province, the company said.

“GBPC, through its subsidiary Panay Energy Development Corp. (PEDC), exercises its option for the construction of a third 82-MW unit in addition to its existing 164-MW clean coal power plant facility in La Paz, Iloilo City,” the energy firm said.

The third unit, which will be completed late in 2014, will increase the total generating capacity of PEDC to 328 MW.

The option for the third unit, which will also support the expansion of Carmen Copper Corp. in Cebu, is part of a contract signed with Formosa Heavy Industries last March.

“GBPC proceeds with its expansion plans in Iloilo in anticipation of the power demand hike in the area,” the company said.

The firm started its business in the Visayas in 2003 following its acquisition of a 72-MW diesel plant from the Lopez Group and Cebu-based Toledo Power Co.

In its business plan, GBPC said it wants to address increasing demand by putting up clean-coal power plant facilities in Iloilo and Cebu through its subsidiaries, PEDC and Cebu Energy Development Corp.

“Currently, Iloilo City and the island of Panay are encountering accelerated business growth particularly in the areas of real estate development, business process outsourcing and tourism industries,” said Jaime Azurin, GBPC executive vice-president for business development and commercial operations.

“Based on our projections, we are expanding our power capacity to address the possible shortfall of supply in the Visayas grid by 2015,” Azurin added.

GBPC said it will expand in Iloilo and Cebu given its confidence with the growing economy in the Visayas region.

“As there are existing structures like jetty port, coal yard and water treatment facilities that can be shared with the expansion plant, the cost of electricity would be lower as compared to a greenfield plant due to lesser development cost,” Azurin said.

To date, PEDC supplies the baseload power requirements of Panay island, including tourist destination Boracay.

Aside from PEDC, GBPC also owns a 92-MW diesel-fired power plant in La Paz operated by Panay Power Corp.