SMC Global Power Holdings Corp., a unit of conglomerate San Miguel Corp., started testing and commissioning the first phase of its 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Malita, Davao, officials said Tuesday.
Acting Energy Undersecretary Mylene Capongcol confirmed the development when asked for a comment. An SMC Global official said reliability test runs would be conducted within the month, with full commercial operations to follow.
The source said the first 150-MW unit was undergoing testing and commissioning, with the second unit to follow within the year.
San Miguel earlier bared plans of putting up a power plant that will help support the economic growth of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
San Miguel signed an agreement with the ARMM, which is composed of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, to build a power plant to help provide long-term solutions to Mindanao’s power crisis.
San Miguel has committed to build the power plant that will serve the entire ARMM region, with an estimated 573,446 households, over the next two years.
Only 30 percent of households in the region currently have electricity. Brownouts, especially during the dry months, are prevalent.
San Miguel president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang said in a statement earier that instability and lack of infrastructure and stable power supply had made investors wary.
Ang said San Miguel’s vote of confidence in the war-torn province would create much-needed jobs and entrepreneur opportunities, and provide a major economic boost to ARMM and ease worries over perceived investment risks.
Ang, who signed the agreement with ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman, said the region represented one of the most under-penetrated markets in the Philippines, “but is a region ripe for investment offering huge potential growth.”
San Miguel said its investment in ARMM was in line with its strategy to locate facilities and production centers outside urban centers, creating strong “second-tier cities,” generating jobs and rebalancing the national economy by income and growth dispersal.
“San Miguel has shown great vision by choosing to invest in ARMM. Over the next few years, we’re going to see what can be achieved when the private and the public sector work together with the best interests of the local communities at heart,” Hataman said.
The company is an active participant in the economic development of Mindanao. Ang earlier said San Miguel was looking at putting up three power plants with a capacity of 300 megawatts in the company’s planned industrial estate projects in Mindanao.
Each industrial estate development covers about 2,000 hectares. The company earlier disclosed plans for an industrial estate in Davao del Sur province.
“We’re doing those projects in Davao. We want to help address power shortage in Mindanao. We’re putting up industrial estates. We want to create lots of job opportunities for the people of Mindanao,” Ang said.
“We have so many projects in Mindanao. We’re putting up a food complex in Phividec. We will also put up power plants in the industrial estates. We want to put up at least three industrial estates in Mindanao where businesses can locate,” he said.