by Lenie Lectura, February 19, 2015
Over 1,000 megawatts (MW) of additional power-generating capacity will be available in the Luzon grid this summer, according to the latest data from the Department of Energy (DOE).
The DOE said 739.58 MW will come from its Interruptible Load Program (ILP), which attracted 252 participants. Some 15 more participants, which have a combined potential of 33.68 MW of deloading capacity, are expected to join the ILP.
This is already enough to cover the expected 700-MW supply gap that is seen to result in rotating brownouts in Metro Manila in March.
The remaining 297 MW will be sourced from various power plants that are undergoing rehabilitation and uprating.
Power facilities that are expected to generate additional capacity from end-February up to May this year include the Limay combine-cycle (CC) power plant of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Inc., Bauang diesel power plant of First Gen, Botocan hydropower plant, Navotas diesel power plant of Millennium Energy Inc., the solar power project of Majestic CEZ and the Avion open-cycle natural-gas power plant of First
The uprating of Limay CC and Bauang power facilities, with additional 36 MW and 20 MW, respectively, will be operational by early March.
Meanwhile, the rehabilitation of the 100-MW Navotas power plant is ongoing. It is expected to be
completed by March 15, pending issuance of necessary permits and interconnection to the nearest transmission line facility.
By the end of this month, the Botocan facility is expected to be completed and will contribute 20 MW. The solar project of Majestics CEZ would contribute some 21 MW once it goes on commercial operation also by end-February. Commissioning for the solar project is ongoing and now awaits the notice to operate from the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines.
The DOE said the Avion power project will be completed by April 15, but since it will be fired up by natural gas from the Malamapaya facility, which will undergo maintenance shutdown from March 15 to April 14, its 100-MW output will be available early May. There are other power plants that could help address the power
shortage, but the DOE did not include these in its updated list because of uncertainty in their target schedule.
For instance, the Malaya Unit 1 could contribute an additional 300 MW. However, the facility is currently undergoing an overhaul and only 50 percent of rehabilitation work has, so far, been completed.
In July last year, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla announced the probability of a looming power shortage of at least 700 MW that will affect Luzon during summer this year.
The scarce energy reserve has pushed the government to come up with alternative solutions to avert its impact, which include the ILP for large commercial electricity consumers.
In response, private companies and organizations are now teaming up to help the government in mitigating or, ideally, preventing the disruption of power.