Aquino assures gov’t ready to deal with tight power supply

by Genalyn Kabiling, 25 March 2015
from Manila Bulletin

The government has tapped a “menu of options” to plug the potential power supply deficiency in Luzon this summer, including the dispatch of hydropower plants and the swift rehabilitation of Malaya power plant Unit 1, President Aquino announced on Tuesday.

Addressing the Philippines Investment Forum in Makati City, the President recognized that the country’s power situation has been “complicated” for the longest time but assured the government has taken proactive steps to boost clean and reasonable priced energy supply.

“Right now, the Philippines has a total dependable capacity of 15,665 MW, which is – or should be – sufficient to meet our highest projected demand level of 10,222 MW for 2015. But we cannot be content with this, especially with the potential power supply gap in Luzon this summer, due to the threat of El Niño and rehabilitation of the Malampaya gas field,” Aquino said in his speech.

“Government has been pursuing an entire menu of options to address this projected shortfall. We are expediting the rehabilitation of the 300 MW Malaya Thermal Power Plant Unit 1 to help augment power supply in Luzon,” he added.

Aquino said he also asked National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to optimize the dispatch of hydropower plants, which will generate additional energy supply during peak hours.

The government also forged a partnership with the private sector to augment power supply during the dry months, citing the Interruptible Load Program. “As of January 2015, 252 participants have signed up to use their own generators and de-load a total of 688.67 megawatts during times when power supply is too tight,” he said.

CLEAN ENERGY

Another good news shared by President Aquino was the 48 committed incoming power projects with 4,693.6 megawatts of power which are expected to come online between now and 2018.

Of these power plants, Aquino said 21 will be from renewable energy in line with the government’s goal of diversifying the country’s energy mix and building a power supply “that is as clean and reasonably priced as possible.”

“As you can see, we are determined to continue treading green pathways to development, and to maintain our status as one of the driving forces for clean energy in the region,” he said.

“As I have said before, our vulnerabilities to climate risk should not keep us from exerting maximum efforts in pursuing non-conventional sources of energy. We are hopeful that the rest of the world will see the value in such a strategy,” he added.

The President, however, did not mention his pending request for emergency power from Congress to deal with Luzon’s power shortage during his speech before the investors.

Last September, the President asked Congress to grant him special powers under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) to contract additional power capacity to prevent energy shortage in Luzon in the summer of 2015.

The proposed resolution however has not yet been passed amid conflicting versions made by the two houses of Congress.

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