DOE starts review of power plants’ maintenance schedules

by Lenie Lectura – January 24, 2016

from Business Mirror

THE Department of Energy (DOE) has started reviewing the power plants that are scheduled for maintenance shutdowns this year to make sure that the country has enough power supply throughout the year.

“We are conducting another review. It’s a constant review, actually. We need to be sure that supply won’t be affected by the scheduled shutdown of these power plants,” Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada said in an interview.

Eight power plants in Luzon with a combined capacity of 4,547.8 megawatts (MW) are scheduled to go offline this year.

The majority of these facilities will shutdown in the July-to-December period. This means power supply—at least in the areas being served by the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco)—could prove tight in the second half of the year.

Meralco distributes electricity mainly in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite and Rizal, as well as parts of Batangas, Laguna, Quezon and Pampanga. As of September last year, Meralco has 5.7 million customers.

Based on the latest 2016 plant outages schedule provided by Meralco, more than 700 MW of capacity from three power facilities in Batangas are on scheduled outages in August. These are the 190-MW Ilijan combined-cycle power plant 2; the 330-MW Calaca coal-fired thermal power plant 1; and the Santa Rita combined-cycle natural-gas plant Module 20, with a generating capacity of 255.7 MW.

For September almost 600 MW of power-generating capacity coming from Santa Rita Module 30 (265.5 MW) and Calaca 1 would be shaved off from the grid.

The 647-MW Sual 1 Power Station in Pangasinan will also be out in October and November this year.

Lawrence Fernandez, utility economics of Meralco, said these are among the plants with which the distribution-utility company has contracts. He said Meralco has no information yet on forced outages.

“We are adjusting some of the forecast, especially the supply side, to make sure we have enough supply for election,” Energy Executive Director Irma Exconde commented.

Exconde said the department would also need to review its forecast on the impact of El Niño to the hydro power plants, especially in Mindanao.

The agency is also keenly looking at the supply situation “in the second quarter. That’s where the demand is high,” Exconde said.

Aside from the scheduled maintenance shutdown of power plants, the DOE is also strictly monitoring the power plants eyed for completion this year. Exconde said it is also important that the target commercial operation of these new power plants are followed.

Based on DOE data, a total of 2,445 MW of new power-generating capacity would be distributed across the entire power grid.

Of the total 1,135 MW will come from the new power plants that are scheduled for commercial operation this year.

For the Visayas and Mindanao, at least 555 MW and 755 MW of new capacity, respectively, are expected to come online.

In Luzon the new power facilities includes 300 MW from Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corp.; 135 MW from South Luzon Thermal Energy Corp.; 150 MW from SMC Consolidated Power Corp.; 100 MW from First Gen Corp.’s (FGC) Avion power plant; and another 450 MW from FGC’s San Gabriel power plant.

There are around 555 MW committed power projects for completion in the Visayas this year, which includes the 150 MW of Panay Energy Development Corp., Palm Concepcion Power Corp.’s 270 MW and the 135.5 MW solar power plant of Soleq.

Some 755 MW of capacity, meanwhile, is expected to come online for Mindanao this year, including 200 MW from Sarangani Energy Corp.; 150 MW from San Miguel Corp.; and 405 MW from Filinvest Development Corp.

The figures exclude small sized solar, hydro and power projects which are also expected to come online this year.