Sunday, August 21, 2011
AES elevates Masinloc power plant operations to world-class standards
MANILA, Philippines – Nearly three years after acquiring the 600-megawatt Masinloc coal-fired power plant in Zambales, global energy firm AES Corporation has made significant strides in elevating the facility toward world-class standards. With its record of expertise in energy generation and distribution – as evident in its global operation in 29 countries across 5 continents, supported by a 27,000-strong workforce – AES, a public company in the US, invested billions of pesos in the Masinloc plant to ensure that its operations are at par with the various facilities it owns worldwide.
In April 2008, AES seized the opportunity to grow into a new market when it entered the Philippines with the acquisition of the 600-MW Masinloc Plant. They saw a break to turn around a facility that would enable them to widen their presence in Asia while at the same time help support the developing private power sector by improving the reliability, environmental and safety performance of the Masinloc Power Facility.
Extensive internal programs were put in place to create a strong culture of excellence and empowerment among its people. The major plant rehabilitation was completed at the end of 2010. In 2010, the AES Masinloc Plant safely operated at an output 31% higher than its historic average while supporting the local community in its development efforts.
Armed with their corporate belief of putting safety first, acting with integrity and honoring commitments, among others, AES believes in doing the right thing. A belief shared among its people in all the areas of the world where they operate.
The big transformation
While operational concerns challenged the efficiency of the plant, the AES Masinloc Team saw them as an opportunity to take part in the Philippine energy industry. Masinloc adequately fitted into AES’ skill set of being able to turn around businesses and create worldclass operating facilities.
"When we took over the facility, we implemented a rehabilitation program that ensured that the plant’s performance is at par with AES’ global standards. We’re very grateful for the unwavering commitment and diligence of the whole AES Masinloc Team, because without them, our turnaround wouldn’t have been a success," Country Manager Andy Horrocks said.
Through their dedication and hard work in implementing and perfecting the safety and operating practices, the AES Masinloc team eventually found itself rising to excellence across all key performance indicators.
The plant's maximum output increased from 433MW to 630MW and the minimum load was reduced from 150MW per unit to 75MW, producing operating efficiency improvements of 13%. From an average of six to eight days, the plant’s rate at unloading coal sped up to only less than three days, while also implementing environmental improvements in coal spillage.
The challenge to improve the facility’s condition was not only limited to the power plant and its mechanical operations. With the successful rehabilitation, the AES team further brought down CO2 emissions of the facility by reducing diesel usage for startups by 70%. Ash storage systems and coal handling facilities were also rehabilitated assuring the community that coal and ash do not enter into their Bay ecosystem.
These, among others, are some of the developments and rehabilitation implemented by the AES Team in the Masinloc facility. With the improved environmental management systems in place, particularly the installation of the new Electro-static Precipitator, AES now delivers full output and has met World Bank standards for emissions since January 2010.
Instilling corporate values
The company greatly attributes the plant’s big change to its employees, who came up with superb results as they upheld the beliefs that enable their vision to become reality.
"At AES, we believe in delivering value to all our stakeholders, armed with and motivated by the company philosophies — putting safety first, acting with integrity, honoring commitments, striving for excellence, improving on performance, and having fun while working. We confidently believe that this was paramount in the dramatic turnaround," Horrocks added.
Believing that a company is only as good as the people in it, AES concentrated in training its personnel by instilling core principles such as safety first, integrity and excellence.
"We implemented our strategy and rehabilitated the plant while implementing WorldClass Safety standards, which was shared with all our employees and contractors. In parallel, we worked on improving the technical skills of both our operators and maintenance teams," Horrocks said.
As a result of the company's multi-faceted business approach, the reliability of the Masinloc plant improved greatly and the plant now meets all standards on safety, staff performance, operations, and environment.
Having an optimistic outlook of the country's economic prospects, AES announced plans to expand the plant's facility by another 600 MW.
"Our initial investment plan included the possibility of expanding the Masinloc site. We are keen on growing in the Philippine market and do our part in supporting the economic growth of the country," Horrocks said.
AES Foundation in the offing
With the progress of the Masinloc plant successfully on hand, AES also concentrated its efforts toward its social responsibilities to its communities as a gesture of partnering with them for development.
On top of the community development programs it has implemented, the company is in the process of putting up a Foundation that will institutionalize and integrate all its CSR efforts.
"Through our CSR arm, we will be able to reach out to the communities in an even more strategic, relevant and sustainable manner," Horrocks said.
The Country Manager revealed that part of the plans for its CSR arm includes more in-depth community development activities and projects in the areas of education, health, livelihood and environment.
AES makes it a point to build strong roots in communities where it operates, beyond the “good neighbor” concept. At the onset, AES has initiated community development programs that continue to help boost the domestic economy of its host communities.
On top of its community development efforts, the company has also undertaken a community-based training and livelihood program to equip the out-of-school youth of its host communities.
AES has partnered with key local government agencies in the establishment of a Welder’s Training Center. Through the said program, AES aims to enhance the social welfare and quality of life in the community. With the said Training Facility, AES is taking more solid steps in partnering with the community in furthering its human capital development.
AES has also initiated a continuing capability-building program for its customers through the AES Academy. Through the AES Academy, the company hosts seminars and trainings on Safety, Corporate Governance, Systems Management and Planning and Development for electric cooperatives. Through this initiative, AES is able to provide empowerment that helps equip distribution utilities further in managing and enhancing their business and operations.
"We look forward to a more productive and progressive partnership with the communities we serve — ensuring our commitment to operating the Masinloc facility to the highest standards as well as in assisting them in their continued growth through human capital development that can spur the local economy,” Horrocks said.