Several power projects encountering delays

DOE to re-assess supply-demand outlook

by Myrna Velasco – January 23, 2016

from Manila Bulletin

Several power projects, including the biggest power grid in Luzon, have been encountering delays, thus, prompting the Department of Energy (DOE) to re-assess electricity supply-demand outlook especially during this year’s critical election period.

DOE director Irma Exconde noted that they cannot give tangible numbers yet as to how power supply will fare especially during the summer months, because they are plotting the numbers anew based on update report submitted by power generators on the commissioning of their projects.

“Some schedules of power plant commissioning and operations have been moved, so we have to re-do our numbers,” she said.

Based on data furnished by the energy department, only one coal-fired power project maybe added to Luzon grid’s capacity this year – the 300-megawatt Limay coal plant of SMC Consolidated Power Corporation of the San Miguel Group.

The DOE has indicated that phase 1 of the Limay facility is targeted for commissioning May this year; while commercial operation date is anticipated around August.

Phase 2 of the Limay facility will be on for testing and commissioning October, 2016; while commercial operations will be in January, 2017.

The 100-MW Avion plant of First Gen Corporation is similarly eyed before summer this year, but the project sponsor has yet to provide a more specific timeframe on its deferred commercial operation date. The same goes with the company’s 414MW San Gabriel gas-fired power facility which has been originally targeted on-line April this year.

The DOE data showed that Luzon grid has 2,396.6 megawatts of committed power projects until year 2019 – with the bulk cornered by coal technology at 1,697MW.

Natural gas will account for 550MW; while the rest will be contributed by various renewable energy technologies – primarily solar, wind, hydro and biomass.

The energy department cannot categorically assure yet if Luzon grid can be spared from power interruptions at election time.

It stressed though that measures are being explored and pursued to ensure seamless power supply – not just during the May polls but for the entire summer season, even for the dominantly hydro-served Mindanao grid.