DOE places Luzon grid on ‘yellow’ alert due to low reserves

By Lenie Lectura – March 1, 2017

from Business Mirror

THE Luzon grid was placed on “yellow alert” on Wednesday mainly due to low power reserves brought about by two power plants that suddenly went offline, while some underwent maintenance work.

The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) separately said the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) declared a yellow-alert notice from 10:01 a.m. to 3 p.m. “due to insufficient operating reserve brought about by the outage of San Gabriel [414 megawatts, or MW] at 8:05 a.m.”

San Gabriel is the fourth gas plant of Lopez-led First Gen Corp. (First Gen). It is located near the company’s three other gas plants in Santa Rita, Batangas.

The company claimed San Gabriel is the most efficient natural gas-fired power plant in Southeast Asia.

“Per LRCC [Luzon Regional Coordinating Center] assessment, we will be declaring yellow alert today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. due to tripping of San Gabriel due to boiler feed-pump trouble at 8:05 a.m.,” a text message from the DOE stated.

Aside from San Gabriel, there was also another plant on forced outage. This plant was Kalayaan Unit 2, 177 MW. It experienced “excitation system trouble”.

Other power plants on scheduled maintenance shutdown are Calaca Unit 1 (300 MW), Masinloc Unit 2 (300 MW), GN Power Unit1 (300 MW), GN Power Unit 2 (300 MW), Kalayaan Unit 1 (177 MW), and Sta. Rita Unit 1 (265 MW).

Calaca Unit 2 (300 MW) and QPPL (509 MW) are still on extended outage.

The forced outage and the scheduled maintenance shutdown incidents led to a drop in contingency reserve for noon and afternoon peaks at 251 MW and 490 MW, respectively.

A yellow alert is issued by NGCP when contingency reserve is less than the capacity of the largest synchronized unit of the grid in Luzon. This is equivalent to 647 MW, or one unit of the Sual power plant.

Meralco, according to utility economics head Lawrence Fernandez, said the utility firm immediately contacted ILP (Interruptible Load Program) participants to prepare for possible activation after the yellow alert notice was issued.

“As of 12 noon, 269 accounts indicated readiness to deload if required, equivalent to around 500 MW of deloading capacity,” Fernandez said.

The DOE, at 3 p.m. of Wednesday, said the “yellow alert” notice was lifted effective 1301H “due to sufficient operating reserve brought about by low actual system demand and Malaya 2 declared for normal loading at 300 MW.”