By Lenie Lectura - April 9, 2017
The Philippines needs 43,000 megawatts (MW) of additional power-generation capacity until 2040, with the bulk to be supplied in Luzon, according to the Department of Energy (DOE).
In a briefing paper on the Electric Power Industry presented before the Philippine Norway Business Council last week, the DOE said the required power system capacity addition from 2016 to 2040 is 43,765 MW.
The DOE said Luzon would need 24,385 MW, the Visayas 9,180 MW and Mindanao 10,200 MW.
On a per-technology basis, the country would need 25,265 MW of base-load power that can be sourced from coal, geothermal natural gas, nuclear, biomass and hydro for the said period. The additional mid-merit power sources that usually come from natural gas, among others, should hit 14,500 MW for the 24-year period. Peaking sources of power, such as oil, wind and solar, should total 4,000 MW. As of end-2016, the country’s available capacity stood at 14,996 MW. Last year peak demand hit 13,272 MW.
Of the country’s dependable capacity last year, 36.5 percent is coal; natural gas, 17.2 percent; hydro, 16.7 percent; oil-based, 14.8 percent; geothermal, 8.8 percent; solar, 3.1 percent; wind, 2 percent; biomass, 0.8 percent.
Luzon’s share from last year’s total dependable and available capacity stood at 13,600 MW and 10,484 MW, respectively. Coal still dominates the mix, with 36.5 percent of the grid’s dependable capacity.
In the Visayas the total dependable capacity last year reached 2,813 MW. Of which, 2,299 MW is available capacity. Again, the majority of the power source was sourced from coal, with 37.3 percent of the dependable mix.
Mindanao’s dependable capacity last year stood at 2,684 MW. Of which, 35.7 percent is coal. Of the total capacity, total available capacity was recorded at 2,213 MW. The DOE, whose mandate is to ensure reliable and affordable power supply, cited many challenges in the power industry. These include the high cost of electricity, limited and unreliable transmission system, delayed and unpredictable permitting process, sporadic power interruptions, electrification gaps in off-grid areas and ongoing market development in Mindanao.
To address these challenges, the agency vowed to pursue various action plans. On top of its list is to increase supply and ensure affordable electricity cost, both for grid and off-grid areas, firm up available energy capacities that are technology neutral without sacrificing environmental standards, and focus on delivery of services through grid interconnectivity including off-grid area.
To enforce these action plans, the DOE said there is a need to proclaim energy projects as “projects of national significance”. The DOE must also develop a program for LNG (liquefied natural gas) infrastructure, as well as a Nuclear Energy Development program. There is plan to put up a coal mine mouth project with interisland connection consisting of three phases. The first phase is a 20-kilometer (km) project that would connect Antique and Mindoro. The second phase is another 20 km from Mindoro to Batangas. The last phase is a 62-km project from Antique to Panay. The DOE also cited an optimal fuel mix of 70-20-10 share of baseload, mid-merit and peaking.