By Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 5, 2017 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines – Aside from higher electricity rates, the Luzon grid is projected to experience thin power supply by mid-February due to the 20-day Malampaya shutdown.
Around 1,850 megawatts (MW) of capacity will be lost to the Luzon grid when the Malampaya project undergoes maintenance from Jan. 28 to Feb. 16, Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said in a briefing yesterday.
This is because three power plants – the 200-MW Calaca Unit 1, 456-MW Quezon Power Philippines Ltd. Co.(QPPL) plant and the 600-MW Ilijan Block 1 – will be on scheduled shutdown during that time.
Moreover, the 414-MW San Gabriel plant will not be running while the Ilijan Block 2 plant will have a derated capacity of 420 MW as it will be operating on diesel as fuel.
Fuentebella said the critical period for the Luzon grid will be from Feb. 13 to 17 based on simulations provided by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).
As mitigating measures, the DOE is tapping available renewable energy (RE) capacities, interruptible load program (ILP) participants and demand side management from consumers to prevent power shortage.
“We asked (Renewable Energy Management Bureau) to give us more inputs of RE coming in…We also asked Meralco to include ILP (in their projections). We are also looking into demand side management,” Fuentebella said.
The Luzon grid will also be able to source additional supply from the Visayas grid, which has two new coal-fired power plants running – the 135-MW Palm Concepcion Power Corp. (PCPC) coal power plant and the 150-MW Panay Energy Development Corp. (PEDC) coal power plant, the DOE official said.
The 97-MW Avion plant is also undergoing commissioning to run on diesel as fuel to augment power supply during the Malampaya shutdown.
“What we can do is ensure sufficient supply,” Fuentebella said.
March electricity rates are projected to increase by P1.20 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) as natural gas plants would run on diesel of condensate.
“It’s an issue of change of fuel from a cheaper fuel to a more expensive fuel,” Fuentebella said.