DOE plans ‘efficient’ power plant shutdowns

By Myrna M. Velasco – May 1, 2017, 10:01 PM

from Manila Bulletin

Summer months next year will not be as jittery when it comes to strike of “tight supply dilemmas” with Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi advancing word that they will calibrate schedule of power plants’ maintenance shutdowns to a “more efficient pace.”

He noted that since the scheduled downtimes of power plants are planned a year ahead, the simultaneous scheduling this year was still beyond this administration’s control.

The energy department was partly at the receiving end of criticisms when Luzon grid was plagued with yellow- to red alert conditions in the past weeks – aggravated also by the frequent earthquakes in the early part of April.

Cusi said the “often wobbly state” of the electricity system with power plant shutdowns would need to change, especially during the peak demand months of summer.

He vowed that next year will be a different scenario because they are now adjusting the shutdown schedules of power plants so these would not be overlapping .

Primarily, he noted the technical glitches that power plants suffer coming from a shutdown mode – citing that such repeatedly result in extended outages that had been setting off the power system to breaking point at times.

The energy chief made previous pronouncements that he will set a policy on the publication of power plant shutdowns, so stakeholders in the sector could have a more coordinated approach on ensuring reliable and sufficient supply on events of plant downtimes – as well as on the maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya gas production facility.

For his part, Senate Committee on Energy Chairman Sherwin T. Gatchalian noted that, with recurrent incidents of “tight supply” in the power system, efficient planning primarily on shutdowns of power plants must be taken as paramount concern for the DOE.

He emphasized that the Energy Secretary shall have a stronger mandate so he can enforce shutdown schedules that will not jeopardize the supply-demand situation in the grid.