DOE addresses power shortage in Mindanao

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

THE Department of Energy (DOE) said Thursday that it has provided immediate and long-term solutions to address the power shortage in Mindanao.

The Energy department said that as early as 2010, the Aquino government has laid down ground works for Mindanao, given that the region has been experiencing power shortage of about 200-400 megawatts, resulting in an average of four-hour rotating brownouts, thus, affecting businesses and the Mindanaoans.

The outages were due to the increasing supply-demand gap brought about by the lack of entry of new power projects, and the derating and non-operation of power plants in the region in the prior years, it said.

In the short-term, the DOE said that in partnership with the energy stakeholders, it has added 128 MW in capacities through the introduction of new power capacities, which includes the 15 MW EEI Diesel Peaking Power Plant, (2013) and 15 MW Mapalad Diesel Power Plant (2013), and re-commissioning of the 98 MW Iligan Diesel Power Plant (2013).

The DOE also pushed for the rehabilitation and uprating of the Agus 6 Power Plant Units 1 & 2 from 50 MW to 69 MW, as well as the infrastructure development along Balo-I plains in coordination with Department of Public Works and Highways to maximize the capacities of Agus 1 and 2.

Alongside these measures, the DOE said it also initiated several programs and measures to provide the power of choice and draw in all available resources for the benefit of the region: the Interim Mindanao Electricity Market (IMEM), Interruptible Load Program (ILP) and the Modular Gensets Program.

These programs are on a voluntary basis and serve as options for electric power providers and consumers to manage their power requirements with the corresponding costs, it said.

For the long-term, the DOE said it has facilitated the entry of new power investments such as the 300 MW Coal-Fired Therma South Energy Project located in Davao del Sur and the 200 MW Southern Mindanao Coal-Fired in Sarangani that will add another 500 MW by 2015. Another 405 MW Coal-Fired Power Plant of FDC Utilities Inc. in Misamis Oriental will come online by September 2016, it added.

"It takes two-four years to build a new power plant. We in the energy sector realize that the problems that we face now require long-term solutions," Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said, adding that "facilitating investors' interest to bring in new capacities to meet the increasing demand is a priority not only in Mindanao but across the country."

The DOE, in collaboration with the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), said it also eyes the completion of the Leyte-Mindanao Interconnection Project by 2018, which will enable it to share capacities with the Luzon and Visayas Grids, especially during supply shortfall.

The Energy department said it also issued on March 4 the Department Circular 2014-03-0006, which directs the operation of all existing generation capacities in the Mindanao grid to operate and offer their power to the grid to increase supply capacity.

"All these measures and projects, as established by the DOE with the help of its attached agencies, the local government units and the private sector, are envisioned to provide the best possible solutions to address the Mindanao power situation for the region’s further development," Petilla said. (SDR/Sunnex)

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