Philippine firm launches upgrade of 100-MW Pantabangan

Philippines independent power producer First Gen Hydro Power Corp. has initiated an upgrade of the 100-MW Pantabangan hydroelectric project intended to increase capacity initially by 18 MW.

First Gen Hydro, a subsidiary of First Gen Corp., said February 14 it commissioned VA Tech Hydro GmbH of Austria to perform major refurbishment and upgrade work at Pantabangan, which has been in service since 1977 without a major overhaul.

VA Tech Hydro is to refurbish the project’s two turbine-generators, one between July and December 2009, and the other by December 2010. The upgrade is to extend plant life by 25 years, improve efficiency and performance, and increase capacity by 18 MW.

The upgrade is the initial phase of First Gen’s expansion program for Pantabangan and its sister project, 12-MW Masiway, in Nueva Ecija province in northern Philippines. (HNN 5/10/07)

First Gen plans to invest in additional generating units at both plants, increasing Pantabangan by another 65 MW and Masiway by another 13 MW. First Gen previously said it also planned another 1-MW increase at Masiway through upgrades.

First Gen Corp. acquired the two hydro projects for US$129 million in a 2006 privatization auction of the National Power Corp. assets. First Gen said last year that it plans to spend US$1.37 billion in the next three to five years on new hydro and thermal power plants and on expanding existing ones.

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