Govt pushing for creation of WESM in Mindanao

by Alena Mae S. Flores – December 16, 2015 at 11:25 pm

from Manila Standard

The Energy Department is pushing for the establishment of a Wholesale Electricity Spot Market in Mindanao with the anticipated excess power supply in the island next year.

Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada told reporters the agency started studies on the migration of the Interim Mindanao Electricity Market to a full WESM, similar to the Luzon and Visayas WESM.

The WESM is the country’s trading floor of electricity operated by Philippine Electricity Market Corp.

“By next year, by second half, there will be excess power supply in Mindanao. So what we’re doing is prepare their market rules,” Monsada said.

Monsada said the government also put the privatization of the contracted capacities of the 210-megawatt Mindanao coal plant amid the current power shortage.

“If they privatize, it will be problematic because supply is still short. They [Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp.] changed the target schedule, it was the practical move,” she said.

PEMC earlier said it would conduct an assessment of Mindanao’s readiness to integrate the IMEM to the WESM with the entry of new power plants in the island.

“With the anticipated arrival of new generation in the region, PEMC also foresees that supply in the grid will soon stabilize. Once this becomes certain, PEMC will be able to conduct an assessment on Mindanao’s readiness for WESM integration,” PEMC president Melinda Ocampo said earlier.

Ocampo said the IMEM’s integration to the WESM of Luzon and the Visayas “would allow the optimal dispatch of all existing resources not only within the region, but throughout the three main grids of the country.”

Among the capacities that are expected to come on stream is the first unit of the 210-MW Sarangani coal plant and the 300-MW Therma coal station in Davao.

PEMC launched the interim electricity market in Mindanao during the latter part of 2013, but it was put under “intervention” in February 2014, effectively halting its operations.

The system operator put the Mindanao market under intervention in February last year after the shutdown of the 210-megawatt Mindanao coal plant.

“The temporary pause has turned into an opportunity for PEMC and DoE to thresh out technical and commercial issues with NGCP [National Grid Corporation of the Philippines], PSALM [Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp.] and IMEM participants through the conduct of coordination meetings and focus group discussions,” Ocampo said.

The IMEM, according to Energy officials, was by far the most dynamic way of extracting uncontracted and available power capacities in Mindanao.