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Mauban-based coal plants boost Philippines’ Luzon grid

The two plants combined contribute around 915 megawatts of power to the Philippines’ grid.

Coal-fired power plants Quezon Power Plant (QPL) and San Buenaventura Power Plant (SBPL), both operated by Pearl Energy Philippines Operating, Inc., continue to bolster the nation's power supply as they produce a combined output of 915 megawatts (MW).

As the facilities manager of Pearl Energy Philippines Operating, Inc., Walter Laptew, explains, "It's a very basic and simple process," involving the use of coal to produce heat, which in turn creates steam to spin turbines and generate electricity.

The QPL or Unit 1, which started operating in 2000, has a maximum output of approximately 460 megawatts, whilst the more recent SBPL, Unit 2, completed in 2019, contributes 455 megawatts. Both plants, which are both located in the Municipality of Mauban in Quezon province, were significant investments, with QPL costing roughly Php 750m and an additional Php 68m for the transmission line. The SBPL, on the other hand, came in at around Php 1b. Laptew proudly states, "We came in on target. So we did well with that."

Despite their success, the development of these plants was not without challenges. QPL faced public opposition from a non-governmental group, but was ultimately supported by the local government unit (LGU) and the community. Laptew recalls, "As time went on, we were accepted by the community, and now the community has been very helpful and very thankful that we have been successful."

SPL encountered a different set of difficulties, as it required the relocation of several support facilities from QPL to accommodate its construction. "The challenge was that we had a limited area to construct that plant," Laptew admits, adding that expanding the footprint was "probably the biggest challenge."

To ensure the reliability and maintenance of both plants, Laptew emphasises the importance of a skilled workforce. "It's a skill set that requires a good maintenance program, and a good maintenance team," he notes. Pearl Energy Philippines Operating, Inc. employs a team of registered engineers, enabling the company to "reliably and as cheaply as possible produce power that's needed by the public."

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