ILOILO CITY, May 9 (PNA) -– The Department of Energy (DOE) has assured additional 285 megawatts (MW) of power interconnected with the Visayas Grid once the two coal-fired power plants in Iloilo are commissioned and made operational by June 2016.

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, who is an Ilonggo, graced the laying of time capsule of the Palm Concepcion Power Corp. (PCPC) on May 8, 2014 located in Brgy. Nipa, Concepcion town in northern Iloilo.

PCPC is constructing a 135 MW coal fired power plant costing some P13.5 billion at its 37 hectare site in Concepcion.

Drilon said that Iloilo is fortunate to be the beneficiary of P29 billion investments within two months.

The first power plant investment this year was in Iloilo City after Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC) starts construction last month of a 150 MW coal fired power plant at its site in Brgy. Ingore, La Paz district in Iloilo City.

The second coal fired power plant in the city has a project cost of P15.6 billion to be run by the Panay Energy Development Corp. (PEDC) and distributed by Panay Electric Company (PECO). The first coal fired plant of 184 MW, also in Brgy. Ingore, La Paz by the same company was commissioned in 2010.

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said the PCPC plant will assure power consumers in electric cooperatives in northern Iloilo, central Iloilo and the Provinces of Capiz and Aklan of stable electricity supply once the power plant is operational.

Drilon said the local economy can not expand and develop without power. Western Visayas has a growth rate of 7.5 percent in 2012 and it is imperative to sustain the economy by developing more power plants and resources.

Petilla said the growth of renewable energy sources in Western Visayas will also attract more investments here.

Among the renewable energy are the biomass plant proposed in central Iloilo, a 12-MW solar plant currently being developed in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, wind power plant being developed in Guimaras, waste-to-energy plant in Iloilo City and solar farm and power plant also in Iloilo City. (PNA)