3 new coal plants to beef up power supply in M’danao

By AZER N. PARROCHA
Philippine News Agency

THREE new coal-fired plants are expected to increase the power supply in Mindanao by 2016, Malacanang said Thursday, noting that some areas on the island still experience rotational blackouts until now.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio B. Coloma Jr. said in a Palace media briefing that these plants attest to the government’s commitment to provide steady and stable power supply for the Filipino people.

At present, Coloma said data from the Department of Energy (DOE) place the power supply in Mindanao at 1,064 megawatts (MW) compared to the peak demand estimated at 1,222 MW (or a shortfall of 158 MW).

“This explains why there are rotating brownouts at an average of two to three hours, except in Maguindanao province that is currently experiencing up to more than 10 hours of power interruption daily,” Coloma said.

However, he noted that the government is closely monitoring the ongoing three projects that will increase power supply in Mindanao by up to 900 MW.

“These new projects include the 200-MW coal-fired plant of the Alson’s group and the 300-MW Aboitiz-owned coal-fired plant which will both come online by 2015,” the PCOO chief said.

“Another 400-MW will become operational in 2016 and this is the coal-fired plant owned by Philinvest,” he added.

He said that the 500 MW to be available in 2015 and another 400 MW in 2016 would amount to 900 MW to address the current need of Mindanao which is around 1,200 MW.

“The DOE continues to undertake reforms in the power sector, including actively pursuing a 50-50 energy mix between traditional and renewable energy with increased private sector investments in hydroelectric biomass and solar power,” Coloma said.

While the three plants have yet to be on-stream, Coloma said that the DOE and the power industry are using embedded generators by distribution utilities to augment power supply.

They are also adopting the interruptible load program which, Coloma said, involves voluntary use of generator sets by consumers where they will receive compensation based on ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission) appropriation.

The 210-MW Steag coal-fired power facility in Misamis Oriental is also continuously being repaired and rehabilitated, which will take about two to three months to finish.

There is also the continuous repair and rehabilitation of existing hydroelectric power plants in other areas, Coloma said. (PNA)

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