By MYRNA M. VELASCO
Luzon grid was placed on its first ‘yellow alert’ incident this year on Thursday (January 16) due to the combined impact of forced outages of power plants as well as de-rating on their capacities, especially the generating assets that are sited in Batangas.
System operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) raised yellow alert status for the grid from 10:01 to 11:00 during the morning peak in demand; then 1:01 to 4:00 p.m.; and the last one at 5:01 to 7:00 p.m. which are the peak demand-hours in the afternoon through evening.
The transmission firm said it was prompted on the ‘yellow alert’ declaration “due to insufficient operating reserve,” which entails then that if there would be additional capacities taken out from the system, available supply may not be enough to plug prospective shortfall.
The power plants reported to have suffered from forced outages had been the 647-megawatt Unit 1 of the Sual coal-fired power facility; and the 57MW Tiwi Unit 5 generating asset.
Moreover, the facilities with de-rated capacities had been: the 300MW Calaca plant which was just providing 234MW; 150MW SMC Consolidated Power Corp (SCPC) unit 2 with just an output of 140MW; the 720MW Kalayaan plant of which capacity had been down to 360MW; and then the 150MW Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corporation which was just at 145MW output.
NGCP also reported that other power plants had very limited capacity being wheeled to the grid due to line constraints instigated by the continuing eruption threat of the Taal Volcano.
One of the major plants affected with transmission line gridlock had been the two units of the 1,200MW Ilijan gas-fired power plant in Batangas, hence, reducing the capacity it has been yielding to the grid at just 760MW.
The other gas-fired plants in Batangas – primarily those operated and owned by First Gen Corporation, also cautioned previously that their operations may be curtailed if the brewing Taal eruption would worsen.
Tens of thousands of consumers in the Luzon grid have suffered from electricity service interruptions in the past days, but these were mainly attributed to the adverse effect of the ash fall from the volcano – and not necessarily of power supply shortfall.