700-MW additional capacity on track

February 23, 2015 at 09:50

Posted on February 19, 2015 10:54:00 PM


By Claire-Ann M. C. FelicianoSenior Reporter

POWER PLANTS with combined capacity of over 700 megawatts (MW) are expected to contribute to Luzon’s supply into the dry season, according to data from the Energy department.

Operation of these projects — which has already been factored into current projections — is necessary to avoid potential crippling outages from March to July.

Latest estimates of the Energy department showed that Luzon will need an additional 782 MW to cover both supply deficit and required reserves.

Mylene C. Capongcol, director of the Energy department’s Electric Power Industry Management Bureau, said in a text message the agency is updating projections.

“We are optimistic that all expected projects will come online as scheduled to augment the needed capacity,” she said.

A list released by Energy department showed that 10 power projects were undergoing construction, rehabilitation and interconnection activities as of Feb. 12.

Millenium Energy, Inc.’s 620-MW Limay diesel plant in Bataan is expected to start contributing 36 MW more upon completion of uprating early next month.

Rehabilitation is also ongoing for 1590 Energy, Inc.’s 225-MW Bauang diesel plant, which will have additional 20 MW for the Luzon grid early next month.

Three other projects are also preparing to dispatch capacities.

Interconnection has been ongoing for the 20-MW Botocan hydro plant in Laguna;19-MW accumulated capacity of JG Summit Holdings, Inc.’s self-generating facilities in Pasig, Laguna, and Batangas; as well as 100-MW diesel plant in Navotas City of Millenium Energy.

According to the Energy department’s data, the Botocan plant should be ready by the end of this month, while connection of JG Summit’s facilities is targeted by the end of March.

Millenium Energy’s plant is expected to be connected to the grid by March 15, the agency noted.

Besides these projects, two committed plants should also be ready for the dry months.

These are Majestics Energy Corp.’s 21-MW solar plant in Cavite Economic Zone which is undergoing testing before commissioning. It is slated for end-February start of commercial operations.

First Natgas Power Corp.’s 100-MW Avion natural gas plant in Batangas will start commercial operations by early May.

Other projects tagged by the Energy department as critical are South Luzon Thermal Energy Corp.’s (SLTEC) 135-MW coal plant and Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corp.’s (SLPGC) 300-MW coal plant, both in Batangas.

Target start of commercial operations of SLTEC’s plant — now undergoing testing before commissioning — was pushed back to end of this month from last month due to problems with boiler tubes.

Meanwhile, SLPGC’s first 150-MW unit is targeted to be operational by March 31; while the second 150-MW unit should be ready by June 30.

On Wednesday, Philippine Independent Power Producers Association President (PIPPA) Luis Miguel O. Aboitiz tagged April 5-15 as a critical period, as expected high demand will coincide with the one-month maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya gas field starting March 15.

Preparations to avert or at least minimize power interruptions have been under way since the third quarter last year.

Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the country’s largest distribution utility, has been drawing more participants to the interruptible load program (ILP), under which big consumers will run their power generator sets, instead of drawing from the grid, in exchange for compensation.

Such compensation — an additional feature to the existing ILP — forms part of a joint congressional resolution still awaiting Senate approval that will give the Executive additional options to avert a massive power shortage in Luzon, which contributes about 70% to national output.

Meralco Vice-President Larry S. Fernandez said capacities registered with the program totaled 617 MW as of Wednesday, with potential for 100-200 MW more.

Moreover, both PIPPA and Meralco have been pushing energy efficiency and conservation measures in a bid to ease demand in the dry months.

President Benigno S.C. Aquino III invoked the power crisis provision of Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 in September last year after the Energy department announced the potential power shortage.

Source: https://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=TopStory&title=700-mw-additional-capacity-on-track&id=103065

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