Power firm warns of supply shortage in Mindanao

In a presentation before the General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative recently, Archimedes Flores said reserve capacity in Mindanao will fall to 7.5 per cent or 84 MW short of its 212 (MW) requirement next year.

Flores is the general manger of Aboitiz Energy Solutions, a sister company of Davao Light and Power Company.

The figure represents a shortfall of 84 megawatts if the power industry in the island is to maintain the 13-percent reserve capacity requirement.

It will further fall to 1.4 per cent in 2011 or a likely shortage of 174 megawatts of power supply.

The total dependable capacity in the island is 1,510 MW but generating plants are required to keep 13 percent of its generating capacity for reserve.

Peak demand last year reached 1,280 MW leaving the island with 15.2-percent reserve capacity.

The reserve capacity for this year is projected to fall to 13.5 per cent and by 2010, it will be reduced further to 7.2 percent. 

Flores said the power demand in the island is projected to increase by at least 5.76 percent annually starting next year.

This, according to him, could strain the reserve capacity of the island's generating plants and could lead to power outages.

He said that in order to maintain the 13-percent reserve capacity over the next six years, Mindanao will have to generate 174 MW next year, 270 MW in 2012, 374 MW in 2013 and 484 MW in 2014 if the demand steadies at 5.76 percent increase every year.

The projected demand for power supply over the next six years is almost double the 2.95 per cent annual demand growth rate over the last five years, according to Aboitiz Energy Solutions.

Outside of the 42.5 MW hydro power plant in Sibulan, Davao del Sur and the proposed 27 MW Tamugan hydro plant in Davao City which will be commissioned this year and next year, respectively, no other private investors are building or expanding their existing plants, the briefing further stated.

Several firms have lined up projects to generate electricity in Mindanao but these have remained in the drawing board.

Among them are the proposed 200MW coal-fired power plant o
f Conal Holdings in Maasim, Sarangani and the proposed expansion of the STEAG coal power plant in Misamis Oriental.

There have been no updates, however, on the status of the proposed projects. 

Aboitiz Energy Solutions said most likely to be affected by the shortfall is Southern Mindanao, which includes the Davao and Cotabato regions, as supply from Northern Mindanao could no longer be delivered by the power grid in that region.

Southern Mindanao is reportedly eating up 50 percent of the total power requirement in the island but only 20 percent of the dependable capacity of Mindanao power plants is generated in the region.

In October last year, Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes warned that by this year, electricity demand in the island will "outstrip” it own supply.

The Aboitiz executive warned that shortfall in power supply will likely lead to slowdown in commercial and trading activities in the island and could severely affect manufacturing and industrial productions.  

The power firm also fears this could compromise the peace and order situation, including discomfort to residents in the island. (Edwin G. Espejo/MindaNews Contributor)