Published March 23, 2017, 10:01 PM By Myrna M. Velasco
At least 20 power generating facilities will be on combination of unplanned outage and scheduled maintenance shutdowns at the duration of summer months, according to a report drawn from the contingency planning set by the Department of Energy (DOE) this week.
It is thus feared that with the simultaneous shutdown schedules of power plants, Luzon grid supply could be strained again and that could lead to power interruptions if conditions would be worsened by forced outages of more power generating facilities. This too could trigger spikes in electricity rates.
Based on presentations made by system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to the DOE and other relevant stakeholders on Wednesday (March 22), the power facilities on outage will include Calaca unit 1 with 210-megawatt capacity; Pagbilao unit 1 at 382MW and Pagbilao unit 2 at 382MW; Masinloc Unit 2 at 315MW; Quezon Power at 456MW; GNPower unit 1 at 302MW; and GNPower Unit 2 at 302MW.
The other plants are Sta Rita Module 10 at 250MW; Sta Rita Module 40 at 250MW; Kalayaan unit 1 at 180MW; Kalayaan Unit 2 at 180MW; Ambuklao Unit 3 at 35MW; Bacon-Manito Unit 1 at 55MW; Bakun Unit 1 at 35MW; Limay 6 at 60MW; Limay 7 at 60MW; Magat Units 1 and 2 at 90MW; Magat Units 3 and 4 at 90MW; and San Roque Units 1, 2 and 3 at 145MW.
The downtime and unplanned outages of specified power plants stretched from February until June this year, according to data culled from the energy department.
NGCP has noted that the peak demand forecast for the year would be at 9,870 megawatts – and this is anticipated occurring around May.
It was similarly specified that the shutdown of Calaca unit 2 on March 28 -March 30 this year has been categorized an “unplanned outage;” while the downtime of its Unit 1 had been extended until April 11. The original downtime schedule had just been from December 15, 2016 to February 27 this year.
According to the power supply-demand outlook, the most critical period for the grid will be on the week of May 13 to 19 when the peak demand is expected to happen.
At that time, gross reserve level is anticipated to go down to 1,350 megawatts, entailing then that any uneventful forced outages in big power generating units could pull down the grid to ‘yellow alert’ or even ‘red alert’ conditions – hence, perceptibly resulting in unwanted power interruptions or the widely known and dreaded rolling brownouts.
For the month of March, system load is anticipated to be hovering at 8,870 megawatts to 9,030 megawatts and this will just continually climb throughout the scorching weather months of April and May.