DOE to adjust power demand growth target

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

As this year’s peak demand target has already been breached and the Luzon grid frequently teetering into extreme tight reserves, the Department of Energy (DOE) indicated that it will be adjusting the country’s power planning forecasts especially on targets of ‘peak demand’ growth.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi has incessantly sounded off that “yellow alerts are not something to be feared of,” but for industry veterans who are well-aware of the very long gestation period of power projects, this has been keeping them awake at night because it could blight Filipinos on two fronts: one, would be spikes in the rates when supply runs scarce; and two, power interruptions are not far-off if no new investments are injected to meet longer term demand.

To the consumers’ bid for power supply safety net, the energy department announced that it will be integrating adjustments in the country’s Power Development Plan (PDP) given the 300-megawatt deviation logged in this year’s actual peak demand vis-à-vis forecast. According to Energy Assistant Secretary Redentor E. Delola, the department is currently studying which sectors or customer segments have been soaking up bulk of the demand growth.

“We already hit peak demand last week (May 29), that’s around 300MW difference from peak demand forecast,” he stressed, noting that government’s projection set highest demand at 10,561 megawatts but that had already been transgressed two weeks ago.

With the yellow alerts, Delola explained “we’re not saying that we lack capacity, but we will need new capacity because demand is really going up.”

On power planning adjustments, he noted that “what we are studying right now is why there had been deviation in the forecast – so, we’re looking at the possible reasons why it slid down, because historically that has not been the case.”

Preliminarily, he conveyed that what they have established had been “growth in demand not necessarily coming from the franchise area of Meralco (Manila Electric Company) … the growth has been coming from outside, not from the traditional economic centers.”

He added it will then be very necessary for the energy department to require all power utilities to submit judiciously-calculated Distribution Development Plan (DDP), which will then be the agency’s basis in firming up forecasts in the PDP and subsequently in the Philippine Energy Plan.

Last week, system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines raised another ‘yellow alert condition’ in Luzon grid from 1:01 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on June 4 due to the tripping of one unit of the Ilijan gas-fired power plant supposedly ignited by its blade path temperature.

The system operator indicated that it was prompted on the yellow alert declaration “due to insufficient reserve brought about by some plant’s forced outages,” while other plants have either de-rated capacities or still out from the system.