Power reserve still at ‘manageable level’ even with Malampaya shutdown

by Myrna Velasco, 16 March 2015
from Manila Bulletin

After the Malampaya facility’s shutdown, power reserve was still relatively on a ‘manageable level’ at 940 megawatts as of Monday, according to power industry figures.

In data culled from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, it was shown that peak demand for Luzon grid was at 7,808MW; while available capacity in the system had been at 8,748MW.

Visayas and Mindanao grids were actually on more critical conditions yesterday, as gleaned from NGCP’s monitoring – with their reserve levels just at 162MW and 26MW, respectively.

It remains to be seen though how electricity supply-demand will shape in the coming days and weeks – especially if there would be changes in temperatures to higher degrees.

There have been lots of apprehensions that with the gas production facility’s scheduled maintenance, electricity supply in Luzon could be drastically affected and any unexpected outages in the power plants could result in electricity service interruptions or actual brownouts.

But plants running on gas – primarily the Santa Rita and San Lorenzo plants of the Lopez group – had shifted to liquid fuels so they can continuously supply power to Luzon grid during the March 15-April 13 downtime of the Malampaya platform.

According to First Gen senior vice president Victor Santos, their plants had started using liquid fuels on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. to 12 midnight on Sunday – it was on one unit fuel shift every hour.

“We are now running on liquid fuel for both Santa Rita and San Lorenzo and we dispatch our plants in coordination with the requirement of our customer Meralco (Manila Electric Company,)” he said.

For the 1,200MW Ilijan plant, it was earlier indicated that it might just be its one unit that will run – at possibly de-rated capacity of 450MW.

The whole scenario being seen right now is on probability that brownouts may not happen after all – unless big units of generating facilities would trip and the reserve level at that particular period would not be able to plug it.

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