With Mindanao’s economy growing stronger, it’s power requirements have been rapidly increasing. In 2016, Mindanao’s electricity consumption grew at 12%. Today, Mindanao has a total installed capacity of 3,162MW. The region’s capacity has grown in response to the demand surge – increasing by 31% from 2015-2016, the highest rate of increase among the three grids in the country. However, according to the Department of Energy, Mindanao will need 3,650MW of additional capacity by 2020-2030 and is actively encouraging investments in power generation in the region.

In anticipation of this demand for new generation, GNPower Kauswagan (GNPK) is constructing a 4x135MW thermal power plant in Lanao del Norte in northern Mindanao. The plant, which began construction in 2015, is expected to begin delivering power to the grid in 2018.

GNPK has close to 400MW of signed contracts with distribution utilities, providing customers with an attractive hedge against uncertain market prices for power. The uncontracted balance will be sold to the Mindanao energy spot market, which is scheduled to be operational before the plant achieves commercial operation.

The project uses several technologies to keep its environmental impact at a minimum. Besides burning coal that has very low sulfur and ash, the plant is designed to use Baghouse filters and a Flue Gas Desulfurizer (FGD) to further reduce emissions to a level well below the required standards of Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the World Bank. A Continuous Emission Monitoring System (CEMS) will also be used to measure the emissions from the chimney. Ash from the plant is expected to be used beneficially in the manufacture of cement. The plant steam turbines are supplied from Europe by Siemens and the facilities are designed with a high degree of redundancy and a Distributed Control System (DCS), ensuring efficiency and reliability during normal operations.

Besides contributing to the Mindanao economy by supplying reliable power, GNPK is also focused on creating long-term employment opportunities. The company recruited over 100 college graduates from Mindanao and placed them in a two-year training program to prepare them with the skills to operate the facility. Over 200 regular employees are expected to be required to staff the facility, most of whom will come from the region.

With its construction in full swing and preparations for operation underway, the AC Energy-led project will bring 552MW of base load capacity to the Mindanao grid, aimed to support the power demand and economic development of the region. The completion of GNPK will bring AC Energy closer to achieving its goal of 2,000MW attributable capacity by 2020.