2 Sual plants trip; ample grid reserves save Luzon from massive brownouts

by Myrna Velasco, 13 March 2015
from Manila Bulletin

The two big generating units of the 1,200-megawatt Sual coal-fired power facility tripped yesterday

but the ample reserves in the power system saved Luzon grid from what could have been massive brownouts.

According to Manila Electric Company, there had been 30-minute automatic load dropping (ALD) or slight interruptions in electricity service but that was instantaneously resolved.

Technical experts have explained that not all capacities are “hot reserve’, so the power system needed some time to put some plants on operation to plug the capacity gap after the Sual facility’s forced outage.

Based on data from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), system reserve on Friday had been at 1,640MW. The available capacity that day was relatively high at 9,190MW vis-à-vis estimated peak demand of 7,550MW.

The load drop, according to Meralco, affected 700 megawatts of its network demand and such caused temporary snag to service for customers in Metro Manila. The power interruptions happened from 9:59am to 10:25am.

Some “178 Meralco circuits were affected or around 25-percent of Meralco circuits,” company spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga has noted.

TeaM Energy, the operator of the Sual plant, has apprised media that the Unit 2 of 645MW capacity of the Sual plant should have been back to operations by 3:00pm on Friday.

In a separate development, supply situation in Mindanao started easing toward the weekend following the maintenance shutdown completion of unit 1 of the 210-MW coal plant in Misamis Oriental.

Plant operator Steag State Power Inc, has announced that the 105MW generating unit “was synchronized to the grid on Thursday (March 12) at around 12:25pm.

Unit 2 of the same capacity has already been set back on stream last March 2. SPI chief executive officer Dr. Bodo Goerlich has emphasized that “the preventive maintenance activities for Unit 1 were successfully completed ahead of schedule.”

He added that with the two units of the plant now operating at full capacity, “Mindanao’s power supply condition will improve.”

Goerlich said the maintenance activities for the facility were strategically planned so they can be brought back to service prior to the strike of the critical summer months.

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