SNAP-Benguet received a Certificate of Registration for Ambuklao’s Unit 3 as a participant in the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market effective 1 June 2011. Last month, Ambuklao’s Unit 3 underwent its successful rotation and synchronization to the Luzon Grid.

The Ambuklao plant now has 35MW of capacity after two years of rehabilitation following a 12-year shutdown. Purchased in 2008 by SNAP-Benguet, Ambuklao plant’s rehabilitation began the same year to restore the plant and increase its capacity from 75MW to 105MW. The rehabilitation is scheduled to be completed in the third quarter of 2011, enabling a fully operational Ambuklao plant by the end of the year.

The Ambuklao plant upgrade involves the construction of a new intake, headrace and penstock, elevation of tailrace tunnel outlet, de-silting of tailrace tunnel and replacement of electro-mechanical components.

SNAP-Benguet’s renovations on its other facility, the Binga power plant, are ongoing. Began in 2010, the refurbishment will upgrade the plant from 100MW to 120MW one unit at a time within three to four years.

Despite extensive plant rehabilitation, SNAP-Benguet’s Ambuklao and Binga Plants own a remarkable safety record. As of April 2011, they posted a combined 3.75 million man-hours of zero loss time incidents arising from workplace injury.

Built in 1956, Ambuklao was the first among the country’s largest hydroelectric power plants with an original installed capacity of 75 MW. Siltation and other technical problems caused by the 1990 earthquake that struck Benguet led to suspension of plant operations in 1999.

SNAP-Benguet is a joint venture company between SN Power of Norway and Aboitiz Power.