Microgrids eyed to fix Mindoro power woes

By Jordeene B. Lagare – July 05, 2019
from The Manila Times

THE Philippine and Japanese governments will be exploring the use of microgrid system in Mindoro to resolve power woes plaguing the province.

In a statement on Thursday, the Department of Energy (DoE) said the agency and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) are planning to review Mindoro’s Power Development Master Plan.

“With the help of METI, we will be able to undertake a comprehensive study of the Mindoro grid, and assess the feasibility of introducing a micro-grid system as a source of stable power,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said.

Under the proposal, the agency requested METI, along with Japanese firm KPMG AZSA LLC, to provide technical assistance in crafting a comprehensive and integrated Power System Development and Operational Plan for Mindoro and help build capacity toward the total electrification of all households on the island.

The DoE defines a microgrid as a small-scale power system capable of providing stable power supply to off-grid areas by combining distributed power sources, such as diesel generators, solar power, wind power and storage batteries.

“If everything goes well, Mindoro would serve as an electrification model for the rest of the off-grid islands in the Philippines,” Cusi said.

Mindoro is the seventh largest island in the Philippines, with a total land area of 10,571 square kilometers and a population of about 2 million people.

The DoE chief said many communities remain without access to power, while those with electricity suffer from unreliable services.

“Providing stable and reliable power in off-grid areas remains a considerable challenge to our goal of total electrification. Mindoro is one of those island provinces that has been plagued with power problems for decades,” he added.

This is a continuation of the technical cooperation agreement signed by the DoE and METI in June last year to improve electric infrastructure and power generation efficiency in the country.

It covers the following: identification of issues and remedial measures based on Japanese experience and knowledge; proposal of institutional arrangements to propel the installation of facilities with reliable performance; provision of training for the Philippine government and independent power producers to enhance operations and maintenance quality of existing thermal power plants; and sharing of the rehabilitation diagnosis results carried out in line with the action plan.

During this period, METI, through KPMG AZSA LLC and NEWJEC, Inc., held seminars and trainings on power operation and maintenance as well as deployed specialists to gather information on DoE’s initiatives on conducting performance audits of power generation and distribution system facilities. This will serve as the takeoff point for the next phase of the accord.

Both parties are optimistic that their agreement will be extended within the year.