By: Ronnel W. Domingo - 01:00 AM March 28, 2017
No electricity supply shortfall is expected in the summer months, but the Philippines can’t give up coal-fired power plants as these are needed to keep the economy going, according to the Department of Energy.
Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said yesterday the Luzon grid had a generating capacity of about 10,000 megawatts while demand was pegged at about 9,000 MW.
Fuentebella said that in the Visayas and Mindanao, supply was at 2,000 MW each while demand was at 1,500 MW each.
“As far as our numbers are concerned, we are confident that we will not experience any (power) interruption,” he said. “We don’t have any problems, we have sufficient supply.”
However, Fuentebella said that the DOE was still pushing for beefing up reserves despite generating capacity exceeding demand by 1,000 MW overall for the country.
The DOE wants to attain a 25-percent power reserve nationwide, which means trebling the current reserve to about 3,000 MW.
Asked whether the Philippines can turn its back to coal-fired power plants, Fuentebella said no. “Now, we cannot do without coal because we need 70 to 80 percent of our generating capacity to be baseload plants,” he said.
Baseload plants are generating facilities that cater to base demand and which run round the clock. These power plants run on fuels such as coal, natural gas and large-scale hydropower.
“(We need to look at) the capability of the power plants and our capability to compete with other nations,” Fuentebella said. “We have to have sufficient power for us to be able to compete and create wealth for our country especially because we have this direction toward industrialization and at the same time a growing population.”