Old plants, rising demand threaten PH power supply

By Alena Mae S. Flores – March 26, 2018 at 07:25 pm
from manilastandard.net

The country’s aging power plants put the country’s power supply situation at risk, according to the Energy Department and power retailer Manila Electric Co.

Energy Department director Mylene Capongcol said in a recent interview with CNN Philippines the age of the power plants, increasing demand and changes in temperature, were affecting power supply.

Capongcol said the supply was at risk because of the “aging of the power plant, increasing demand, sudden increase or decrease in the temperature that affects the ambient  performance of the power plant.”

Capongcol said there was a need to put up more power plants to address the increasing demand and fill the gap of aging power plants.

“From the DoE, we need to put in place an environment conducive to private sector participation, in generation and in the supply. Of course there should be a robust and strong transmission and distribution system,” she said.

Capongcol said if there was not enough supply, the cost of power would increase.

Meralco PowerGen Corp. president Rogelio Singson said about 33 percent of current capacity came from 20-year-old plants while 60 percent of the capacity was coming from 15-year-old facilities.

He said aging or old plants tended to result in unexpected outages and needed constant maintenance.

“You really need better, more efficient plants.  You need reserve capacities like the DoE is targeting at least 25 percent reserve capacity. Right now,  we have only 15 [percent reserve], so if one big plant breaks down, then you start having yellow alert and brownouts,” Singson said.

Singson said government expected to achieve a reserve capacity for Luzon of at least 600 megawatts annually and 1,000 MW for the whole country annually.

He said the country needed reliable baseload power plants that were competitive such as coal.