NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
Grave concerns raised by power firms competing for the installation of an independent power plant in Bohol is now hounding the Joint Third Party Bids and Awards Committee (JTPBAC) as three of the six evaluated technical bids were found inadequate and were disqualified as recommended by the Joint Technical Working Group (JTWG) of One Bohol Power (1BP).
Engr. Danilo Quidlat, Head of the JTWG who handles the bulk of the evaluation process told the Chronicle that the meaning of “resiliency” which is the main objective of the selection process has been the major cause of the disqualification of three of the six bidders with one power firm withdrawing their bid at the opening of the technical evaluation.
Resiliency, as defined by 1BP is the capacity of the winning bidder to install an “in-island plant in the province that will satisfy the zero-outage power supply of 1BP even during “power supply islanding (isolation of Bohol from the grid).
Apparently, three of the six power firms who submitted their technical and financial proposals to the JTPBAC on February 12, 2021, offering a combination of solar + diesel, power plants did not pass muster raising serious doubts on the viability of solar energy to satisfy the power needs of Bohol.
The Chronicle learned that the principal reason for the disqualification of firms offering solar+diesel plants was their inability to assure the Boholanos of an uninterrupted supply of electricity painfully recalling the massive destruction of Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013 and the 6.5 magnitude earthquake on July 6, 2017, that battered Leyte where the province’s electricity is largely supplied.
But SMC Global Power Holdings Corp. (SMC-GPHC) of San Miguel Corporation who submitted a proposal for a natural gas+battery power plant was deemed “non-responsive” by the JTPBAC as the “total effective capacity is only 72.5MW which falls short with the total requirement of 1BP.”
The JTWG evaluated the SMC-GPHC multiple in-island plants as a single technical proposal as the Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) was not considered among the plant types.
However, the SMC-GPHC proposal, according to sources, is unique as it will allow Bohol to have an “islanding” operation in the event of a “Typhoon Yolanda and earthquake” situation “even without the batteries and without the need to be connected to the grid.”
SMC is undergoing the installation of a BESS facility in Ubay with the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines as part of a $1 billion project to build 31 storage facilities in the country.
BESS, according to industry sources will address power quality issues including frequency fluctuation and voltage issues since it can be used as regulating reserve type of ancillary service of NGCP.
Earlier, Global Business Power Corporation (GBPC), a subsidiary of Manila Electric Company upgraded its appeal to a protest before the 1BP over the decision of the JTPBAC confirming the recommendation of the JTWG to disqualify its proposal.
The payment of a non-refundable protest fee of PhP5 million, as determined by the JTPBAC shall form part of the written protest filed before the 1BP Joint Competitive Selection Process Committee, according to the rules of the bidding.
The six participating bidders are ThermaVisayas, Inc. (TVI), a subsidiary of AboitizPower – solar+coal, Solar Philippines Power Project Holdings, Inc., owned by Leandro Leviste, son of former Senator Loren Legarda, now Representative of Antique – diesel+solar plant, Global Business Power Corporation of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) for diesel+solar,
SMC Global Power Holdings Corp. of San Miguel Corporation for natural gas+battery, Bohol Hybrid Energy Corp. whose chair and President is a Boholano – Atty. Wilfredo Bacareza, Jr. for diesel+solar, and Energy Development Corp. (EDC) of the Lopez Group for diesel+geothermal.
Then-Governor, now 1st District Congressman Edgar Chatto issued Executive Order No. 13 series of 2014 creating the Bohol Energy Development Advisory Group (BEDAG) composed of stakeholders from the power sector and sought the assistance of the USAID Advancing Philippine Competitiveness (COMPETE) for technical assistance in formulating a long term Bohol Island Power Development Plan. (Chito M. Visarra)