Firm bats for contracting of Visayas Grid’s ancillary services capacity

by Myrna Velasco – November 27, 2015

from Manila Bulletin

Being a major investor in the solar-swamped Negros Occidental corridor, Bronzeoak Philippines of the Zabaleta group has been batting for immediate contracting of ancillary services capacity for Visayas so its power grid could be stabilized.

Bronzeoak Philippines president Jose Maria Zabaleta said “there is a need for NGCP (National Grid Corporation of the Philippines) to contract ancillary services for grid balancing.”

He indicated that while battery storage “is an ideal solution to balance the grid,” the technology has yet to make inroads in the Visayas grid’s system.

There had been concentration of solar projects primarily in the Negros area, hence, apprehensions have been raised on the impact of their generation variability.

The same fears were sounded off in the mass development of wind power capacities in Northern Luzon – with their intermittency posing some distress into reliable operations of the power grid.

Zabaleta has labeled such geographically-concentrated RE developments as a “perfect storm’, but which impact could be sorted out by properly addressing the grid’s need for reliability balancing.

For that to be resolved, both solar and wind developers have reckoned that NGCP must step up initiatives on capacity contracting for ancillary services or seriously consider battery storage as an alternative solution.

Apart from this concern, Zabaleta noted that the other limitation of RE investments had been on transmission uprating and expansion investments.

This has already been exhibited in Northern Luzon, wherein it took over a year before the wind plants achieved maximum dispatch because of delayed transmission uprating.

“The transmission line investment and upgrade process is a lengthy one,” Zabaleta has emphasized.

Transmission firm NGCP has previously cited that many of its investments are being hurdled by serious right-of-way (ROW) problems and compounded by regulatory lag on project applications.