The legend of the phoenix (Spanish: Fenix), the bird that rose from the ashes is a well-told one, which has its origins in Greek mythology. Although the story’s exact origins are unknown, it is generally estimated to be around 3,000 years old. Perhaps as a result of the symbolism in the story, the phoenix has gone on to give its names to people, places and organizations all over the world.
Of all of these, perhaps only one can lay claim to being in a place even older than the story of the phoenix itself. Fenix, the Peruvian energy company is located in the Chilca district of Peru, whose main town, Chilca, is over 7,000 years old. We recently spoke to the company’s General Manager, Juan Miguel Cayo, about how Fenix works with the region and its people, all while running a modern energy plant.
Fenix is owned by a consortium of large energy market players, including Colbun (a Chilean energy firm), ADIA (Abu Dhabi’s Sovereign Wealth Fund) and Sigma Capital (the Peruvian Infrastructure Investment Fund); not only its operations are befitting such esteemed company, costing $900m to construct, but it’s an innovative operation, which has moved Peru up a gear in the energy world.
As Mr. Cayo explains: “It is the first plant operating in Peru that was conceived and built as combined cycle from the outset. The plant burns natural gas in two gas turbines to generate 60% of the energy. In this process, the seawater previously desalinated and demineralized heats up to produce steam and generates an additional 40% of energy.”
Award-winning CSR Initiatives
As well as raising the bar for other Peruvian energy firms, Fenix is raising the bar in general where its CSR initiatives are concerned. An award-winning example of this was seen in the case of its capacity to deliver 2,000 cubic meters of free drinking water on a daily basis to the Municipality of Chilca for the benefit of the local population – which has traditionally suffered from water shortages. Mr. Cayo elaborates:
“The sustainability of the drinking water plant operation is based on the Environmental Impact Study carried out in 2005, when Fenix’s thermoelectric plant was still a project. Moreover, given that Fenix uses seawater in the operating design for power generation, there is no impact on the availability of the continental freshwater which is very scarce in this area.”
If that wasn’t enough, Fenix also contributes to the health of the people in the region through its outpatient clinic at Las Salinas. Mr. Cayo explains: “the inauguration of Las Salinas outpatient clinic has been a fundamental commitment for Fenix and we are sure that this benefit will significantly contribute to promote good health in the area. It will be responsible for providing, on a priority basis, health care services to almost 1000 inhabitants of the area.”
Fenix also pays close attention to the environment in the Chilca region, going above and beyond what Peru’s government demands of it, to meet World Bank and International Finance Corporation standards. Mr. Cayo says: “Our Power Plant’s combined-cycle technology makes an efficient use of natural resources. The use of the natural gas and the technology in the combustion process is friendlier to the environment due to low carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and carbon monoxide emissions.”
Elsewhere, the company makes ongoing significant contributions to Agua para Chilca, which provides clean water to schools, hospitals and homes in the region, Anemia Cero, a program which seeks to reduce the rate of children suffering from anemia – particularly those under the age of 3, the enhancement of schools in the region in coordination with the Ministry of Education and Local Educational Management Unit, and even tourism promotion, bringing economic prosperity to the ancient region.
Partners and Suppliers
The fact that the consortium behind Fenix are so experienced in energy projects not just across Latin America, but also across the globe, means a number of things. For one, they look to bring best-of-class international standards to the project. Second, they stake their reputation in the success not only of the project’s financials, but of its stakeholders too (as seen above). But what it also means is that they’re looking for the best partners and suppliers, and demand the most of them.
These partners and suppliers range from everything from local spare parts and equipment suppliers such as Adolphus S.A to global behemoths such as GE for power generation services. In between the two, there the Japanese Yokogawa, which provides integrated process control solutions, Pluspetrol, for the project’s significant gas supply requirements, the Peru office of Emerson Process Management for equipment and the local branch of Golder Associates, the consultants Fenix turn to for environmental monitoring.
Fenix Rising: What the future holds
The ancient area of Chilca is as good a reminder as any that nothing stays the same forever. Even though Fenix finds itself in a low price gas environment now, this will inevitably change at some point in the near future. As Mr. Cayo says: “As for growth prospects, we remain optimistic for 2017 in terms of operating and economic results. Fenix also aims to grow as part of its strategic plan. The company is always looking for opportunities to grow in order to diversify risks and revenues.”
The good news is that Colbun, the owners of Fenix, and its partners also see their relationship with Peru as being a long-term one. “This is a long-term bet to stay and grow in the Peruvian market. We continually see new entrants, most of them investment funds that stay short periods and go. The entry of a company like Colbun is, without doubt, good news for the domestic electricity market.” Little wonder then, that in the old town of Chilca, there’s a new spring in people’s steps as they go about their business.
For more Info On Fenix Visit: FENIX
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11 January 2016