Romero-owned Fort Pilar Energy Inc. is out to challenge the dominance of the industry’s “big boys” as the company casts capacity buildup of up to 3,000 megawatts to become one of the major power sector players in the next five years.

Belgrove Power photo

Fort Pilar Energy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Joseph Omar Castillo revealed this capacity target during the turnover of the 650-megawatt Malaya thermal power facility to their company-subsidiary Belgrove Power Corporation. That asset was purchased was from a sale undertaken by state-run Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation.

Sheila B. Romero, chairperson of Belgrove Power, qualified that their near-term target is to accomplish 1,000 megawatts in the next 18 months.

She indicated that aside from the 650MW Malaya thermal plant, the company also acquired recently the 28.59MW solar facility of AlterPower Digos Solar Inc. (ADSI), which has the potential for expansion of up to 40MW.

In addition, Fort Pilar Energy is also deploying battery energy storage system (BESS) to help improve power supply reliability in Zamboanga.

On the targeted expansion, Castillo emphasized that their holding company – Fort Pilar Energy – is continuously exploring investment prospects in Visayas and Mindanao, in addition to opportunities that they’ve been looking at within Luzon grid.

Castillo cannot give details yet on the scale of investments being programmed by the Romero group, as he noted that “capital spend will depend on what kind of technologies we’ll eventually be pursuing — whether these are RE (renewable energy) or other types of technologies.”

For the Malaya plant, Romero conveyed that Belgrove Power is “in the process of doing a feasibility study and overall assessment of the assets” – and that is in line with the targeted overhaul of the facility before it will be brought back to full commercial operations.

“We are still in the early stages of a feasibility study for the power plant, As such, we do not have an estimate for further investments,” she reiterated.

At this stage, Romero specified that “we plan to keep that position of Malaya as the premier back-up power for the country’s main grid,” stressing that while the facility repairs are ongoing, Belgrove Power is similarly jumpstarting discussions with system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) for ancillary services procurement agreement (ASPA) or a contract for the provision of reserve capacity for the grid.

On possible off-take deal or power supply agreement (PSA) with Manila Electric Company (Meralco), Romero stated “we would definitely offer services for Meralco once our plans are firmed up. After all, the Malaya power plant is embedded in the Meralco franchise area.”

Within this year, Castillo noted that P500 million had been budgeted for the repair of Unit 2 of the Malaya plant, which has 350MW capacity – and that is targeted for completion in the next 3-4 months; entailing then that the generating unit will be a key supplement to Luzon grid supply during the critical summer months of next year.

Castillo said the company will also “bring in two new modular aero-derivative gas engines for an additional capacity of 60 megawatts by end of 2021.”

For unit 1 of the Malaya thermal power facility, the Belgrove Power chief executive asserted that there is a plan to “transform it into a multi-fuel” generating asset – and that will include gas, especially when imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) will already be available in the country.

He pointed out that after completion of the feasibility study and once repair work will already start, Belgrove Power’s Unit 1 of Malaya will resume feeding its generated capacity into the grid after 12 to 18 months.

Source: Manila Bulletin (