Palinpinon geothermal power plants back to normal operations soon

June 12, 2010 10:54 am 

DUMAGUETE CITY, June 11 –The Palinpinon I and II geothermal power plants in Palinpinon, Valencia, Negros Oriental will soon be back to normal operations by June 17, after completing the maintenance shutdown of some of its units last month, according to authorities of the Green Core Geothermal Inc.

GCGI, a subsidiary of geothermal giant Energy Development Corp., had acquired last October the Palinpinon power plants, formerly operated by the National Power Corp. prior to privatization.

The geothermal plants are about 27 years old now and need to be rehabilitated to bring back their full operating capacity of 192.5 megawatts, they said.

Engr. Debonaire Mamhot of GCGI-Palinpinon’s Plant Technical Services said the geothermal power plants were currently operating at a combined maximum capacity of 181 megawatts (MW), just about enough to meet the demands of its clients.

Their customers include, among others, electric cooperatives in Negros Occidental and Panay, like Ceneco, Akelco, Eleco I, EMDC, Capelco and Guimelco, in Negros Oriental and Panay, which were part of the purchase of the Palinpinon power plants.

The scheduled shut down of the units at PAL I and PAL II last month had resulted in power outages in these areas, with the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, the firm in charge of power transmission, deciding on the schedules for manual load shedding and rotating brownouts especially during peak hours.

Emeterio Busmeon, maintenance department manager, said that GCGI was working to maximize the Palinpinon power plants’ full capacity, and in fact, the company is currently drilling additional one well that can generate between five to eight MW.

He said that the power plants needed preventive maintenance once every two years, and due to the increasing demand for electricity, they should be brought back their maximum operating capacity.

Another preventive maintenance shut down has been scheduled for PAL II on July 2, lasting for 15 days, and on Sept. 8 for Unit 2 of PAL I, for 30 days.

GCGI-Palinpinon authorities have assured that they will find ways to serve their customers during these times, such as augmenting power supply through purchase of electricity from another source.

On top of this, GCGI has calendared during its first three years of operation a substantial rehabilitation of the Palinpinon power plants, such as replacement of turbines and rotors, amounting to about P2 billion.

Mamhot, meanwhile, clarified that the Negros Oriental Electric Cooperatives I and II (Noreco I and Noreco 2), are not among their customers as these are buying their power from another source.

However, GCGI is hoping to work out an agreement with Noreco 1 and Noreco 2 for a power supply agreement, although negotiations between these companies are still ongoing. (PNA) RMA/JFP

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