500 of 588-MW additional power supply for Mindanao by 2016 is coal-based

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/24 March) – Eight-five percent or 500 of the 588 megawatt additional power generation in Mindanao by 2016 is coal-based,  Department of  Energy planning chief Michael Sinocruz said.

Sinocruz told the Regional Media Workshop on Power Industry and Renewable Energy Development in Mindanao last Friday that from 2013 to 2016,  eight power generation projects have been committed, with only 58 megawatts of the expected 588 coming from renewable sources, 30 megawatts from diesel and the rest, coal.

The renewable energy projects are the 50-MW Mt. Apo 3 Geothermal project and the eight-MW  Cabulig Hydro project of the Mindanao Energy Systems Inc. in Jasaan, Misamis Oriental, he said.

Thirty megawatts will be coming from diesel power plants: 15-MW from the Mapalad Energy Generating Corporation project in Iligan City and another 15-MW from the EEI Power Corporation’s peaking plant in Tagum City.

The 500 megawatts are all coal-based: the 150-MW Therma South Inc.’s Phase 1 project in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur due for completion in 2013; the 150-MW Therma South Phase 2 by 2015;  the 100-MW Sarangani Energy Corporation’s  project Phase 1 in Maasim, Saranggani by 2015 and another 100-MW for its Phase 2 by 2016.

In his presentation, Romeo Montenegro, investment promotions and public affairs director of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) reiterated that Mindanao is facing a “serious power deficit” and will require at least 500-megawatts of new capacity by 2016, another 500 megawatts by 2020, and 1,600 megawatts by 2030 based on a projection using 4.7 percent annual growth of power demand.

He said the outlook for cheap hydro electric power from the Agus and Pulangi power complexes is “compromised by siltation of river systems and dams, hence the share of fossil fuels in the energy mix is rising.

Montenegro said there is a need to fully tap “clean, renewable and indigenous power sources” to minimize foreign exchange and environmental costs and to address electricity consumption growth and substantial system losses.

The power deficit, he said, can be addressed “immediately” with additional capacities through a quick rehabilitation of the Agus and Pulangi power complexes but this will augment supply by only 50 to 100 megawatts.

Government, he noted, has considered tapping embedded generators or enhance the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) to augment capacity by 200 megawatts. He also cited the pending reopening of the Iligan Diesel Power Plant, which is expected to increase power capacity by 100 megawatts

“So, that’s 300 to 400 megawatts of power to bail us out of trouble; but it ain’t easy fix,” he said.

Potentials for renewable energy in Mindanao are huge but still largely untapped because renewable energy projects require bigger initial capital expenditure and need substantial investments to be viable, Montenegro added.

As of 2013, Mindanao’s energy mix is 52 percent hydro, 31 percent oil based, 10 percent coal-based, 5 percent geothermal, and 1 percent bio-mass, he said.

By 2016, including the committed projects, hydro and oil-based will be cut to 40 percent and 25 percent respectively. But coal-based will shoot up to 28 percent and by, including committed and indicative projects, hydro and oil-based will be cut further to 25 percent and 21 percent, respectively. Coal will soar to 36 percent share in the mix, he said.

Sinocruz cited nine proposed projects that would, if pushed through,  produce a total of 527 megawatts.

Four of the projects, expected to produce 127 megawatts, are on renewable energy sources: Green Power Bukidnon Phils’ Bukidnon Biomass Project in Maramag for 35 megawatts; another 35MW for  Darong Solar Photovoltaic Power Project in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur of Philnew Energy Inc.; the five-megawatt Camiguin Island Wind Power of the Energy Development Corporation; and the 20-megawatt Tagoloan

Hydropower of First Gen Mindanao Hydro Power Corp. in Bukidnon.
Four other proposed projects are coal projects totaling 400 megawatts, including the 200-MW Steag Expansion Project in Phividec, Misamis Oriental.

Another project, the 20-megawatt Circulating Fluidized Bed Biomass-Coal Fired Thermal Power Plant in Maco, Davao del Norte is a hybrid – using both bio-mass and coal. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)