4 coal-fired power plants to be commissioned in 2016

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/23 November) — Four units of coal-fired power plants with a combined power capacity of 550 megawatts will be connected to the Mindanao grid in the first half of 2016, an energy official said.

The move intends to cushion the impact of El Nino that will affect the capacity of the Agus and Pulangui hydropower complexes that supply 55 percent of Mindanao’s energy requirements, said Noriel Christopher Reyes, science research specialist II at the Department of Energy’s Electric Power Industry Management Bureau.

Reyes spoke during a forum on the Mindanao Energy Plan and the impacts of El Nino on the Mindanao power sector at the Pinnacle Hotel and Suites on Monday attended by stakeholders from the Davao Region.

Two units will start in the first quarter: the 150-MW unit of the Therma SOuth Inc., a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power, in Binugao, Toril in Davao City; and the 100-MW unit of the Sarangani Energy Corporation in Maasim, Sarangani Province.

The San Miguel Power Corporation will start commercial operation of its two power plants, each having a capacity of 150 MW, in the second quarter, according to Reyes.

From November 2015 to February 2016, he said, the impact of El Nino will be more evident with a projected power deficiency placed at 100-200MW.

But Mindanao’s power situation will normalize with the entry of the new power capacities on the grid, he added.

As of 1 p.m. on Monday, Mindanao’s power supply was recorded at 1,157 MW while the demand was 1,369, or a shortfall of 212 MW, according to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.

In an advisory on Monday citing the NGCP, the Davao Light and Power Company said a preventive maintenance service on the 105-MW unit of the STEAG coal-fired power plant caused the shortage.

As of Monday, DLPC’s franchise area received only 167 MW from NGCP, lower than its power supply contract of 273 MW.

“Davao Light’s power supply contracts with other generating plants could have compensated the deficit given the current power situation,” it added.

The situation worsened after the 150-MW first unit of TSI underwent an emergency shutdown last November 22. Of the total capacity, 50 MW was contracted to DLPC.

DLPC’s contract with the Therma Marine Inc. also decreased from 30 MW to 19 MW due to the preventive maintenance service of one of its four units with a capacity of 45 MW.

“Sibulan hydropower plant as well has advised a reduced capability to facilitate an emergency repair on one of its plants,” the statement added.

The distribution utility was only given 246 MW, lower than the demand of 340 MW, which resulted in three to four hours of rotational brownouts during peak hours from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and 1.5 hours during off-peak periods, from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.

The DLPC was running its standby Bajada Diesel Power Plant with a sustained capacity of 40 MW. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)