Tuesday, June 30, 2015

DMCI barred from Romblon

By: Gil Cabacungan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
04:53 AM June 30th, 2015

DM Consunji Inc. (DMCI) and its officials have been declared persona non grata by Romblon’s local government for supposedly blocking the operation of a diesel power plant on the island after losing in a bidding to another power company.
Romblon Rep. Jesus Leandro Madrona submitted a copy of the resolution to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to show that Romblon’s 200,000 residents were opposed to DMCI’s alleged efforts to stop the construction of an eight-megawatt diesel power plant.
The resolution said DMCI “is disregarding the longstanding need of the people for a stable supply of electricity.”
The resolution added: “This selfish vested interest of (DMCI) disrupts the delivery of basic government services, business and tourism industry, thereby seriously affecting the well-being of more than 200,000 residents on the island of Tablas due to daily power interruptions.
“Now, therefore, be it resolved as it is resolved to declare (DMCI) persona non grata in the municipalities within the franchise area of Tielco (Tablas Island Electric Cooperative).”
Forced to suffer brownouts
The resolution was signed by Mayors Gerardo Montojo of Romblon; Baltazar Firmalo of Odiongan; Artemio Madrid of Sta. Maria; Jovencio Mayor Jr. of Ferrol; Leila Arboleda of Looc; Fernando Robillos of San Andres; Emmanuel Madrona of San Agustin; Robert Fabella of Calatrava; Fe Asher Visca of Sta. Fe; Eddie Lota of Alcantara; Ronnie Samson of San Jose; and Salem Tansingco of San Fernando.
Madrona said his constituents were forced to suffer rotating brownouts of four to five hours every day because of DMCI’s appeal with the ERC to stop Tielco from awarding the project to Sunwest Water and Electric Co.
Artificial need
DMCI claimed the need to operate the power plant was “artificial” but this was disputed by Madrona, who said that the suffering of his constituents was “real.”
While Tielco was ready to augment the faltering power supply, Madrona said the ERC had been dragging its feet in issuing a provisional authority that would allow Tielco and its new power provider to operate an 8.8-MW diesel-powered facility.
Madrona accused DMCI of “abuse” in its operations, citing its allegedly illegal hiring of Chinese nationals for its Calaca power plant, the Semirara mining disaster and the construction of the Torre de Manila, which has supposedly destroyed the vista of the Rizal Monument. source

Monday, June 29, 2015

‘Solar Lolas’ need P2.6M funding

By: Maricar B. Brizuela
Philippine Daily Inquirer
02:32 AM June 29th, 2015

Four Aeta grandmothers can fabricate, install, repair and maintain solar lighting equipment, but they need P2.6 million to illuminate the two communities where they come from using clean energy from the sun.
The new goal for the four women, who trained in India and became “solar engineers,” is to raise money to replicate solar technology in their communities and help about 100 households from each community have electricity, said Patricia Bunye, president of Diwata-Women in Resource Development Inc. (Diwata).
The solar grandmothers are Evelyn Clemente and Sharon Flores from Gala, Zambales and Cita Diaz and Magda Salvador from Bamban, Tarlac. They underwent a six-month training at Barefoot College in India.
Most residents in Bamban town are still using kerosene lamps for lighting, while not all families in Gala town have the means to pay for electricity.
Fundraising dinner
On June 15, more than 130 people attended a fundraising dinner in Makati City to help “Tanging Tanglaw,” a project seeking to empower indigenous women, particularly grandmothers, by equipping them with skills to provide their communities with solar power.
The project is a collaboration among Diwata, Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association, and Land Rover Club of the Philippines.
“The solar grandmothers will assume the responsibility for installing and maintaining the solar panels and lamps for a minimum of five years.
Replicating technology
“By replicating solar technology in their communities, they will help change the perception of what is a ‘professional’ for rural villages and challenge both age and gender barriers,” Bunye said.
The women, called the “Solar Lolas,” started their training in India last September then came back to the country in March armed with the capacity to help about 100 households in their communities with no electricity.
But the amount needed for this next step is quite big. So Bunye and her group thought of having the dinner with tickets costing P5,000 each and asking pledges from sponsors to raise the money for the worthy cause.
“The response during the dinner was very positive as more than 130 people came to help us raise money,” said the Diwata president.
She said her group was planning to conduct similar activities and visit various companies to present the project and how it would help indigenous communities in the country.
40-watt solar panel
With the targeted amount that Diwata would raise, Bunye said it would provide each household with a 40-watt solar panel, wall-mounted charge controller, waterproof battery box with battery, three LED very strong wall lights, one mobile phone charger, one large solar portable lantern, and workshop tools, supplies and spare parts.
Asked if other indigenous women would be trained in India, Bunye said Diwata wanted to send more after it completed the whole cycle of the project that would culminate with the electrification of the two selected communities.
Barefoot College
Bunye said Barefoot College, which was founded by one of Time magazine’s most influential people in 2010, Sanjit “Bunker” Roy, offered the Solar Lolas a training course in “solar engineering, specifically fabricating, installing, repairing and maintaining solar lighting equipment.”
They also learned other livelihood activities like making mosquito nets and sanitary napkins.
“Bunker Roy accepts illiterate and untrained women all over the world with the belief that even the uneducated poor have the right to use technologies to improve their lives and skills,” Bunye said.
She added that the college was giving priority to women because they would return to their villages “to influence daily life and play a major role in their development rather than migrating to other places as men or younger community members might.” source

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Luzon power grid on ‘yellow alert’

By: Riza T. Olchondra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
06:52 AM June 27th, 2015

The Luzon power grid was on Friday placed on “yellow alert” for the third time this month due to scheduled power plant maintenance shutdowns and lowered capacity of the Malampaya gas field, according to an official of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the largest distribution utility in the region.
A yellow alert means that the power supply has slumped to a level below the required reserve of 647 megawatts (MW). Should one more power generating plant conk out, brownouts will occur.
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), which is in charge of the country’s transmission superhighway, has declared the yellow alert for the peak demand hours of 10 to 11 a.m. and noon to 3 p.m. The yellow alert for the second peak was later extended to 10 p.m.
Citing data from NGCP, Meralco spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga told reporters that reserve power in the Luzon grid was only 526 MW as of 11 a.m. It was estimated to dip to 445 MW during the 2 p.m. peak.
“Official figures of available reserves are still being computed by NGCP,” Zaldarriaga said in a follow-up text message.
He said this was the second yellow alert since last week and the third over the past month. The recent dips in reserve were triggered by the lowered capacity of gas-fired power plants due to a restriction at the Malampaya gas field.
Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla, who inspected this week a newly installed platform at Malampaya, said technical glitches sometimes happen during new installations at gas fields.
Zaldarriaga said some power plants were also scheduled for maintenance outage today and an “emergency shutdown” of Unit 1 of the 600-MW Calaca power plant took out another 240 MW from the system. No reason was provided for the outage in Calaca, he said.
“Other power stations that were out included Unit 1 of the Malaya thermal facility (300 MW), Limay Unit 1 (100 MW) and Unit 2 (70 MW), Unit A-2 of the Tiwi geothermal plant (27 MW), Pagbilao Unit 1 (382 MW), and the 264-MW Sta. Rita gas plant module 40,” he said.
Sta. Rita module 10 changed to liquid fuel from natural gas due to the natural gas restriction at Malampaya, Zaldarriaga said.
The Quezon Power plant in Mauban, Quezon, has also been operating at lowered capacity of 190 MW from its capacity of 460 MW, Zaldarriaga said.
Pagbilao Unit 1 of Japanese-led TeaM Energy Philippines, has been on scheduled maintenance shutdown.
Because of the power slump, Zaldarriaga added that Meralco was ready to implement the Interruptible Load Program (ILP), under which volunteer firms will use their generation sets to ease demand from the grid.
About 900 MW of capacity may be deloaded from the grid through the ILP. source

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Harbor Star to bag deal to haul coal to an Indonesian powerplant

Business Mirror
by VG Cabuag - June 17, 2015 0 89

TUGBOAT operator Harbor Star Shipping Services Inc. may do a follow-on offering or seek project financing deal overseas if it bags a long-term contract to do a hauling service of coal to an Indonesian power plant operator.

Company Chairman Geronimo Bella Jr. said that Harbor Star is in talks with the main service provider of the Indonesian state-owned power plant to become one of the firms that will deliver coal to the facility for the next 15 years.

Bella said that with the deal, it may invest some $10 million for the purchase of 10 tug and barge tandem that will be used for the said project, which could be the company’s biggest overseas venture so far.

He did not give other details since talks are still ongoing but said that the company may meet again with its Indonesian counterpart by next week.

Leah Vasquez, the company’s chief finance officer and compliance officer, said that a follow-on offering at the Philippine Stock Exchange is only one of their options but they may also do a project finance.

“China Trust [Banking Corp.] is our main bank here. They have a branch in Jakarta and they will support us in the deal. But follow-on offering is also on the table because the deal is huge for us depending on the volume [of coal] that we will take,” she said.

Vasquez said the company will buy second hand vessels from either Japan or Singapore with age between 5 and 15.

From the 10 sets of tugboats and barges, with each has a capacity of about 8,000 tons, and the company may haul some 6 million metric tons of coal per month. The coal will also come from various parts of Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago with more than 17,000 islands.

The said Indonesian contract is part of the company’s push to expand its operation in top Southeast Asian nations such as in Malaysia and in Vietnam as its business at home is slowing down due to the ongoing port congestion.

“The effects of the 2014 port congestion will still be felt as shipping lines calling the Philippines have reduced their scheduled voyages,” Geronimo said during the company’s stockholders’ meeting.

In Malaysia, it already started its operations but he said it was “a bit slow” since the company is a new entrant while the Vietnamese venture is still in its infancy.

“As I mentioned we want the operations to normalize before I jump into another project,” Geronimo said.

As of December 2014, Harbor Star has established operations in 13 base ports all over the country, providing services to approximately 5,214 ship calls. source

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Power reserves in Visayas grid fall short

By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 3, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Visayas grid fell short of 256 megawatts in reserves yesterday, according to the latest data from the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).

System capacity stood at 1,329 MW while system peak was estimated at 1,585 MW, NGCP data showed.

This developed as a fire on Saturday led to the temporary shutdown of the 200-MW Kepco-Salcon Power Corp.’s power plant in Naga City in Cebu.

Despite this, Kepco-SPC said in a statement that a total power blackout in the island is unlikely because there are other “power plants that can supply” and fill in the supply shortage.

At the same time, the Department of Energy said there may be rotational blackouts because of the deficit.

The Aboitiz Group’s Visayan Electric Co. (Veco), which has at least 300,000 customers in its franchise area in Cebu, does not source power from Kepco-SPC and has not resorted to power interruptions.

In its statement, Kepco-SPC said its building caught fire, forcing it to shut down its circulating fluidized bed combustion (CFBC) power plant.

The two-unit plant closed the first unit at 5 p.m. Sunday while the second unit was shut down by midnight.

Kepco said it would immediately start the repair of the damaged portion and is developing the best plans to shorten the period of the repair so Unit 1 can go on line the soonest time possible.   source

Monday, June 1, 2015

Petilla: Luzon won’t lose power

Inquirer Northern Luzon 5:33 AM | Monday, June 1st, 2015

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan—There is enough electricity to meet the power requirements of Luzon in the next three to four years, according to Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla.

Petilla, who was the guest of honor during the Central Pangasinan Electric Cooperative’s annual membership meeting here on Saturday, said power consumption in Luzon was around 9,100 megawatts (MW) per day during the summer and about 6,800 MW during the rainy season.

Based on the power situation outlook of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines posted on its website on May 29, the Luzon grid had a capacity of 9,711 MW. This was 1,770 MW more than the 7,941 MW projected power requirement for that day.

2 factors

“So as far as I am concerned, based on our projection, we will have enough [power] in the next four years, more or less,” said Petilla.

“Our power demand is driven by two factors: One, residential, and two, industrialization. If we have a higher GDP (gross domestic product) rate, the demand will be higher,” Petilla said.

He said that with 66 power plants currently being constructed, Luzon’s needs after four years would be met.

“It is not true that there is no investment in the Philippines for energy. There are a lot of investments,” he said.

But these plants will only be operational if there will be a need for more electricity, he said.

“Why? Because if you have excess electricity, who will buy it? Investors will not build plants if no one will buy electricity,” Petilla said.


He said the expected two- to three-hour rotational brownouts in Luzon this summer did not materialize after he asked the power plants to reschedule their shut-downs for maintenance before or after the hot months.

“We also requested some companies to build small diesel plants and, of course, we asked people to conserve electricity,” he said.

Petilla said the Department of Energy’s campaign to set air conditioners to 25 degrees Celsius during the summer worked because the increase in power requirement in the Luzon grid was cut by 660 MW.–Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon source

‘Enough power supply for next 3 years’

By Eva Visperas (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 1, 2015 - 12:00am

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan, Philippines – The country has enough power supply for the next three to four years, according to Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla.

“I don’t think we will ever have enough at this point but what I am saying is we have enough at least for the three to four years,” he told reporters.

Petilla was in Lingayen for the annual general assembly of Central Pangasinan Electric Cooperative and the ceremonial switch on for the electrification of sitios.

It takes four to five years to build a power plant, Petilla said, when asked about the power situation in 2030 when a power shortage is being feared.

“If you build a plant now for 2030, no one would buy yet,” he said.

“So it’s timing, you finish building a plant if there is already a need, so as far as I’m concerned, based on our projection, we have enough for the next four years, more or less.”

Sixty-six power plants have been or are being put up, but power supply depends on two factors: residential and industrial usage, he added.

It is not true that no investment in energy is being made in the Philippines, Petilla said.

“If you only see there are so many investments,” he said.

“Investments now bloom and grow but the succeeding ones may be small because if you have excess energy, who would buy it?”

Investors would not establish power plants if nobody will buy the output, Petilla said.

Not yet counted among the 66 plants being put up or had been built are the small ones, he added.

These include only the 20 megawatts (MW) and over, he said.

All power plants are “ready for battle,” Petilla said.

He had asked power plants to avoid doing their yearly maintenance during the summer months, but either in February or June and July.

During summer, electricity consumption in Luzon reaches about 6,800 MW, Petilla said.

During the month of May, consumption is expected to reach about 9,100 MW and after summer it will go down again to 6,800 MW, he added.

The energy saving measures of consumers contributed to the no power shortage situation, and weather was also favorable, Petilla said.

Energy authorities are managing the situation ince there are still plants that would do their maintenance in June or July, he added. – Cesar Ramirez source