By Myrna Velasco
The Department of Energy (DOE) has assured stable power supply during the May election period across different power grids – given the comprehensive collaboration it has been pursuing with various industry stakeholders.
According to DOE Assistant Secretary Redentor E. Delola, the agency looked at the power supply-demand scenarios in Luzon, Visayas and Mindano grids; and so far the outlooks have been promising.
He explained that they have factored in the capacity additions coming from committed power plants and the scheduled maintenance shutdowns of generating facilities, as well as the intermittency facet of variable renewable energy (VRE) assets.
Nevertheless, Delola noted that they have not integrated yet the forced outages in their scenario-setting. Despite that, however, he opined that power supply during the election period will generally be on the safe side.
The energy official further emphasized that part of the contingency measures will be ensuring that power plants will have minimal forced outages – but even if there shall be unexpected occurrences in the power system, he asserted that the historical average of unplanned plant shutdowns had just been only 300 megawatts on the average.
On the scheduled maintenance downtime of power generating facilities, the scale that will be taken out from the system will be 382MW staring this March; and the higher end will just be at 700 to 800MW until mid-year.
The maintenance shutdown of some power plant units, however, will be aptly compensated by the additional capacities that will be integrated into the system within this semester.
Within March and April this year in particular for the Visayas grid, there will be guaranteed supply buffer of 300MW with the entry of the two generating units of Therma Visayas Inc., the new coal-fired power plant of the Aboitiz group in Cebu.
Energy Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentebella added that if there will be untoward incidents that could affect power supply, Luzon per se could still count on up to 200MW of power import from the Visayas grid plus additional 150MW generation that could come from the Malaya thermal plant in Rizal.
Beyond the guarantee of power supply sufficiency, the energy department has also been watching over security concerns in the power system – so interruptions induced either at distribution and transmission networks can be avoided.