Bantayan Island gets new 23.3 MW power plant

·2 min read

BANTAYAN Island, one of Cebu’s premier tourist destinations famous for its pristine beaches, is now assured of long-term stable power supply following the inauguration of Isla Norte Energy Corp.’s (INEC) first diesel engine power plant.

The INEC plant is a 23.3 megawatt (MW) diesel engine power plant located in Barangay Kabangbang. The company was awarded a 15-year supply contract or power supply agreement (PSA) to fulfill the demand of Bantayan Electric Cooperative Inc. (Banelco), following a successful competitive selection process.

INEC is a joint venture of Vivant Integrated Diesel Corp. (VIDC) and Gigawatt Power Inc. (GPI). The firm earmarked P1.6 billion to build the power plant, said Emil Andre Garcia, INEC president and chief executive officer.

“We are aggressive in the small power utilities group (SPUG) market. We like bringing our brand of service to all our neighboring islands,” said Garcia.

In SPUG areas like Bantayan, Garcia said often the main factors to consider when evaluating technology are stability, reliability and flexibility.

“In all our projects, we evaluate all available technologies, including conventional, renewables or a combination of both conventional and renewables (hybrid),” he said.

“The INEC plant uses the latest advancements in diesel power generation technology that comply with environmental and safety standards. Our operations are also subject to periodic monitoring by an environmental unit which reports to regulators on the plant’s compliance to environmental conditions,” said Garcia.

Provisional authority to operate

The new power plant completed the testing and commissioning of its engines in October 2021. It was granted Provisional Authority to Operate by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on Oct. 28.

Recently, the ERC issued a resolution directing Banelco to “source out power from any supplier which it deems fit, to ensure the continuous and unhampered supply of power within its franchise area.” This directive is applicable for only 90 days, while the ERC continues with the approval process for INEC’s Power Supply Agreement (PSA).

The plant has a guaranteed dependable capacity of 15MW, which is sufficient to address the peak demand of Bantayan Island with reserve and N-1 contingency of 7.27 MW. INEC will be the sole power provider for Banelco and will maintain this status until the end of the PSA term.

The operation of the power plant, officials said, will resolve the pressing demand for a stable, dependable and sufficient power supply in Bantayan Island, the egg basket of the Visayas.

Banelco general manager Lee Rivera, in a media briefing Wednesday, Nov. 10, said the entry of INEC is expected to bring in more growth opportunities to the island, especially now that the government has eased travel restrictions and cases of Covid-19 have been declining.

“Tourism activities in the island are slowly coming back,” said Rivera.

Banelco’s customers are 95 percent residential, two percent commercial and three percent industrial.

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