Phinma Energy, Citicore plan to put up pump storage power plants

By Danessa Rivera

MANILA, Philippines - Phinma Energy Corp. and Citicore Power Inc. are interested in putting up pump storage power plants in Laguna Lake, a ranking official of the Department of Energy (DOE) said.

The agency has received proposals to put up pump storage plants using lakes, DOE director Mario Marasigan said.

One of which is Laguna de Bay, the country’s largest lake, which can host five to six projects with capacities ranging from 400 to 600 megawatts (MW) each in Rizal and Laguna, he said.

 “Right now, we have accepted six proposals, that means service contract (SC) applications, over Laguna Lake. All of these projects would be pumped storage power plants,” Marasigan said.

The DOE official said the proposals have been submitted by Phinma Energy and Citicore Power, and another company for the Bellissima project. These are all on pre-development stage.

Sought for comment, Citicore regulatory affairs and compliance head Rio Balaba confirmed they are developing a pump hydro power project over Laguna Lake, which is part of the SCs secured from the DOE with a 2,300 MW combined capacities.

“We’re still at pre-development stage and still in our technical working group within Citicore. We’re still planning project development…on how to move with the project,” he said.

The private sector has taken interest in these kinds of projects with the passage of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA) and the Renewable Energy (RE) Act of 2008.

 “Prior to the EPIRA and RE Law, it is only the National Power Corp. that has the exclusive authority to develop our water bodies for power development. It’s only after EPIRA and RE Law that we have direct private participation in large hydro projects,” Marasigan said.

However, this type of hydropower project requires a huge amount of investment because of its scale. Normally, developing a hydropower project would require $2.5 million per MW.

This is not the first pump hydro power project over Laguna Lake.

The Kalayaan Pumped Storage Power Plant was built in 1982, which is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia and the only pumped storage facility in the Philippines. It serves as large peaking facility for the Luzon Grid but its primary function is to provide frequency regulation and control.

It is part of of the 728-MW Caliraya-Botocan-Kalayaan (CBK) hydro facility, consisting of the 22.6-MW Caliraya plant in Lumban, 20.8-MW Botocan plant in Majayjay and the 684.6-MW Kalayaan I and II in Kalayaan facilities, Laguna.

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