Coal share in power generation inches closer to 50% nationwide

By Myrna M. Velasco – April 10, 2018, 10:00 PM
from Manila Bulletin

Coal-fired power plants have been reinforcing their foothold in the country’s generation mix with a share inching up to 49.6-percent as of end last year, based on data culled from the Department of Energy.

These facilities’ share in electricity generation nationwide effectively dwarfed the share of natural gas at 21.8-percent; and that of renewables at 24.6-percent combined for conventional and the emerging technologies.

Such manifest dominance of coal in Philippine power generation then may serve as another fodder to the endless ‘RE versus fossil fuels’ debate which had grown to be a wild diversion of some players in the industry.

For oil-based power plants, their generation share had been at 4.0-percent last year, with marked downtrend compared to 2016 level, according to the department.

On the RE resources, conventional technologies like geothermal and hydro still cornered the lion’s share at 10.9-percent and 10.2-percent, respectively; while the fraction of biomass, solar and wind remained fledgling at 1.5-percent; 1.3-percent and 0.7-percent.

It could also be gleaned that coal plants’ installed capacity had gone up by 630 megawatts last year to 8,049 megawatts (MW) from 7, 419MW in 2016.

For renewable energy, capacity addition was relatively lean in 2017 at just 121MW to 7,079MW from 6,958MW in 2016, with the capacity shoring up mainly coming from hydro and the non-conventional RE technologies.

Natural gas installed capacity reckoning was relatively stable at 3,447MW last year from the previous year’s 3,431MW; while for oil-fired power facilities, installed capacity climbed to 4,153 megawatts from 3,616MW in 2016.

Overall, the country’s installed power capacity on nationwide basis had expanded by 1,305 megawatts last year to 22,728MW from the 2016 level of 21,423 megawatts.

In terms of dependable capacity, the energy department placed it at 20,515MW nationwide in 2017 from the year-ago level of 19,097MW.