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Campos reminds DOE: Check possible threats to Luzon’s energy hub in Batangas

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Makati City Rep. Jose Luis Campos has urged the Department of Energy to look into possible threats to Luzon’s energy infrastructure in Batangas province and prepare contingency plans with the looming “explosive eruption” of Taal Volcano.

Campos said there are concerns that the volcano’s looming violent flare-up “might get in the way of the operations of vital power plants as well as oil and gas installations in Batangas.”

“Apart from the vulnerability of (power plant) turbines to damage from severe ashfall, there are also concerns about the sensitivity of fuel facilities in the province to recurring volcanic tremors,” said Campos.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has warned that Taal’s threatening “explosive eruption” could send a cloud of rocks, dust, gas and pyroclastic materials into the atmosphere, which may then collapse and create a fast-moving flow of hot volcanic matter.

Campos noted that Batangas is home to seven power plants with an aggregate installed capacity of 4,305 megawatts (MW)—one-third of Luzon’s power generating capacity.

These power plants include First Gen Corporation’s 1,000-MW; Sta. Rita Combined Cycle Power Plant – 500-MW; San Lorenzo Combined Cycle Power Plant – 414-MW; San Gabriel Combined Cycle Power Plant; and 97-MW Avion Open Cycle Power Plant, which are all located in Batangas City.

The SMC Global Power Holdings Corp.’s 1,200-MW and Ilijan Combined Cycle Power Plant, re also in Batangas City while Semirara Mining and Power Corpporations’s 850-MW Coal-Fired Power Plant AC Energy Philippines Inc.’s 244-MW Circulating Fluidized Bed Thermal Power Plant both stand in the Municipality of Calaca.

First Gen earlier reported that its energy complex was operating as usual, but acknowledged that “accumulating ashfall has the potential to cause damage to the plants’ gas turbines, which in turn could affect their ability to deliver power.”

Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., which operates a 110,000-barrel per day oil refinery in Batangas City, previously reported “normal business operations” while it “remains alert.”

Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc. also runs a petrochemicals terminal in Calaca.

Calaca lies just outside the designated 14-kilometer danger zone around Taal, but has nonetheless been struck by a series of volcanic tremors, according to Phivolcs.