Bill exempts power plants from Biofuels Act

by Mario Casayuran, 03 March 2015
from Manila Bulletin

The Senate passed on third and final reading yesterday Senate Bill 2622 that seeks to exempt power plants from the mandatory implementation of Republic Act No. 9367, known as the Biofuels Act of 2006.

When enacted into law, the country’s power supply would be augmented when the Malampaya natural gas experiences supply shortages as it would allow natural gas plants to use pure or “neat” diesel as their alternative fuel, Sen. Sergio R. Osmeña III, chairman of the Senate energy committee, said.

“The Biofuels Act mandates the use of biodiesel. Pure diesel cannot be utilized anymore anywhere in the Philippines, and since the power plants were built before Congress passed the Biofuels Act in 2006, they are not geared to deal efficiently with biodiesel, which clogs their filters,” he explained.

Osmena cited the Korea Electric Power Company (KEPCO), owner of the 1,200 MW Ilijan gas plant, which decreased its production rate from 600 MW to 420 MW, or a difference of 180 MW per power plant, because of its use of biodiesel.

He said an exemption from the Biofuels Law would allow the Ilijan gas plant to deliver 160 more megawatts.

Osmeña, however, said the exemption has limitations.

He said the exemption could only be invoked when  there is a supply shortage as determined by the DOE; the pure or neat diesel is an alternative fuel of covered plants;  the use of the pure or neat diesel will solely be for the production of electricity; and the exemption will be only for the duration of the supply shortage.

Osmeña said his committee had consulted and coordinated with more than two dozen agencies, groups and parties to come out with alternatives to avert the looming power crisis.

“The intent is to optimize existing assets and to bring down the average cost of electricity for the benefit of the consumers,” he said.

Last Monday, the Senate, by 16-0 vote, approved  on third and final reading the amended Joint Senate Resolution No. 12 authorizing President Benigno S. Aquino to address the projected electricity imbalance in the Luzon grid this coming summer, particularly in the months of April and May.

The bicameral conference committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives began yesterday attempting to iron out the differing versions of their separate resolutions.

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