Global Business Power eyes building coal-fired power plant in Luzon

By Juzel L. Danganan

MANILA, Sept 29 (PNA) – Global Business Power Corp. is eyeing to build a coal-fired power plant in Luzon – its first project in the island.

Jaime Azurin, executive vice president (EVP) for GBPC, said the company is planning to expand its portfolio outside the Visayas and is seeking potential areas in Luzon.

”Yes, we’re looking at Luzon, but it has to be bigger in size to be able to lower the cost,” he told reporters in an interview.

The EVP, however, refused to reveal the potential location of the power plant, saying “a lot of people are looking for a safe spot.”

But, Azurin said the coal project’s announcement and start of preparations will likely happen next year.

He noted that nobody has started their projects in Luzon despite the many talks.

The EVP added that the company is seeking a strategy for the competitive selection process (CSP), which mandates that distribution utilities enter the cheapest power deals through auctions and avoid bilateral agreements.

”The lowest price (of electricity offered) comes from a Chinese technology — which unfortunately is not doing good. How do you now convince the biggest buyer at a competitive price as the Chinese, but with a better technology?… We’re all trying to find ways on how to compete,” he said.

Azurin also raised his concern on the CSP rules as he stressed that the offered deal might have the lowest cost, but the power might be unreliable due to the quality of the power plant.

“If it’s the least cost, I don’t know how reliable it will be. We may have the least cost, but it’s not reliable,” the EVP stressed.

He further stressed reliability of power comes at a cost.

With the CSP rules, Azurin said the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) is beginning to put pressure on the power generators as they are finding ways to compete.

Global Business Power is a consortium of GT Capital Holdings, Inc., Orix Metro Leasing and Finance Corp., Meralco PowerGen Corp., and First Metro Investment Corp.

GBP holds nine power generation facilities in its portfolio, mainly located in the Visayas and Mindoro Island.

Among its power plants are the 246-megawatt (MW) Cebu Energy Development Corp., 164-MW Panay Energy Development Corp., 63-MW Toledo Power Company, Panay Power Corp. with its four power plants having a total capacity of 104.5 MW and, 7.5-MW GBH Power Resources Inc. (PNA)