Sual plant suffers outage, but cloudy weather saves Luzon grid

by Myrna M. Velasco – February 6, 2017, 10:00 PM

from Manila Bulletin

The 600-megawatt generating unit 1 of the Sual coal-fired power facility suffered forced outage early morning on Monday (February 6), but the system held without any declaration of “yellow alert condition” primarily due to cloudy weather which tempered any probable electricity demand rise for the period.

According to Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella, “Sual unit 1 went off-line at 10:15am due to boiler water contamination,” or possible condenser tube leak.

He qualified though that power situation was still at stable level, citing power status report of the Luzon system operator of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.

In an event that power supply in the Luzon power system would reach critical or would be strained to breaking point, “Malaya plant is being readied to come in,” Fuentebella said. In fact, the target is for the plant to be set on stream and be ramped up by Tuesday (February 7).

The Department of Energy (DOE) previously indicated that the 650MW Malaya thermal generating facility could run at a de-rated capacity of 470 megawatts when called for dispatch as must-run unit (MRU) on the duration of the Malampaya shutdown from January 28 to February 16.

It is worth noting that prior to the outage of Sual’s generating unit 1, its unit 2 of the same 600MW capacity had also been on outage for several days.

According to power plant operator TeaM Energy Philippines, “Unit 2 was out February 2 at 3:48pm,” and it was just back on-line on Monday (February 6) at 5:11am. “The cause was boiler water contamination,” the company said.

For Unit 1, TeaM Energy affirmed that it was first de-rated at 9:50am to 350 megawatts, then it descended into full shutdown at 10:15am. The DOE deployed its own team on Monday to check on the plant’s operational status.

According to NGCP, the projected peak demand for Monday was at 7,337 megawatts at 2:00pm, and reserve was still at a decent level of 1,967 megawatts.

The entire Luzon grid is considerably at “stressful state” during the gas facility’s maintenance downtime because some plants were not able to run on liquid fuels, while others are at de-rated capacities.