Thursday, January 5, 2017

Luzon may be placed on yellow alert during Malampaya plant shutdown

By Lenie Lectura - January 4, 2017

THE Luzon grid could be placed on yellow alert for five days during the 20-day shutdown of the Malampaya gas facility, an official from the Department of Energy (DOE) said on Wednesday.
“This is the worst-case scenario based on existing simulation. The best-case scenario is zero yellow alert,” Energy Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentebella said after a press briefing.
The yellow alert is expected to be issued from February 13 to 17.
A yellow alert is issued by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) when the contingency reserve is less than the capacity of the largest synchronized unit of the grid. In Luzon this is equivalent to 647 megawatts (MW), or one unit of the Sual power plant.
The worst-case scenario includes a possible unscheduled shutdown of the Sual plant, according to the agency.
The agency assured that even if the Sual plant goes offline, Luzon would still not be placed on red alert.
A red alert is issued when there is severe power deficiency.
The Malampaya gas facility, which provides around 40 percent of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) supply requirements, will undergo a maintenance shutdown from January 28 to February 16.
Incidentally, there are power plants that will also undergo maintenance shutdown on some days when the gas facility is offline. These plants are Calaca 1 (200 MW), QPPL (456 MW) and Ilijan block 1 (600 MW). The total capacity coming from these plants that will be shaved off from the grid is 1,256 MW.
An additional supply deficit of 414 MW and 180 MW will come from San Gabriel and Ilijan block 2. Both are utilizing gas from Malampaya.
In all, 1,850 MW of capacity would be shaved off from the grid during the Malampaya shutdown.
The Luzon grid is dependent on Malampaya, which fuels three power plants: Santa Rita, 1,000 MW; San Lorenzo, 500 MW; and Ilijan, 1,200 MW. The Santa Rita and San Lorenzo power plants are owned by Lopez-led First Gen Corp., while Ilijan is owned by Kepco Philippines.
These plants will use more expensive alternative fuel throughout the shutdown period.
The Santa Rita and San Lorenzo gas plants will continue to run, but on liquid fuel.
The Ilijan plant will be available, but its output will be limited up to 420 MW only. One block (600 MW) of Ilijan will go on scheduled maintenance, while the other block will continue to run on biodiesel, but only up to 420 MW.
These plants will use more expensive alternative fuel throughout the shutdown period.
The shutdown will probably result in an increase of about P1.20 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in power-generation cost of Meralco.
“It’s an issue of change in fuel from a cheaper to a more expensive one. Probably from a cheaper P4 per kilowatt hour [kWh] to P6 to P8 per kWh,” said Fuentebella, who added the P1.20 per kWh “is still a moving figure.”
“So, we have to adjust our simulations because it is moving every day,” he said.
The DOE is also closely monitoring the tasks of industry players involved in the shutdown.
Fuentebella provided updates on ongoing coordination efforts among Shell Philippines Exploration Corp. (SPEx), Meralco, Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC), affected generation companies (Gencos), and the NGCP.
He said the NGCP would need to revise its demand-supply power outlook during the shutdown.
The NGCP is the country’s grid operator. “The NGCP projects the power outlook and it needs to revise it because of ongoing restoration efforts due to the recent typhoon.”
SPEx is the operator of the Malampaya facility. The DOE wants to make sure the materials needed for the maintenance work would be fully delivered by January 15 so the scheduled maintenance won’t go beyond 20 days.
To avert any possible power-supply problem, the DOE will require Meralco to call on the Interruptible Load Program participants of Meralco.
“I am not expecting any [power outage] during the shutdown. We will ask Meralco to include ILP and we are looking to tapping the demand side management and other renewable-energy sources,” the DOE official said.

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