Mindanao needs additional 300 MW annually starting 2022, says power firm official

The dam of the Pulangui hydroelectric power plant in Bukidnon. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 17 December) – At least 300 megawatts (MW) of additional capacity must be added to the Mindanao grid annually starting 2022 to meet the growing demand for power on the back of several ongoing developments taking place in the island, an official of the Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV) said on Monday.

Milan, adviser for Mindanao of the AEV, told reporters that Mindanao might need more power investors investing in additional capacities as the current reserves might not be sufficient to meet the demand after three years.

As of 1pm on Monday, the National Grid Power Corporation recorded that Mindanao’s existing capacity reached 2,533 MW while demand was 1,790 MW, leaving only 743 MW in excess power.

“At the rate we’re growing, our excess might be consumed by the growth if no investments will come in. We’ll have nothing. We go back to the bust and boom situation. We don’t want that to happen so our growth in Mindanao continues,” Milan, also president of Davao City Chamber Commerce and Industry Inc., said.

Industry-wide projection on the growth of Mindanao’s demand for power averages at least 8% annually, he said.

He said there have been new investments in renewable power to augment the power supply in Mindanao but most of them are in smaller capacities.

He said the Aboitiz company is closely monitoring the power situation in Mindanao because it can expand by another 300 MW the capacity of its Therma South Inc. (TSI) facility in Barangay Binugao, Toril.

Inaugurated on January 8, 2016, the company invested P35 billion for TSI 1 and TSI 2 with combined capacities of 300 MW.

“We cannot just invest when it’s not going to be used because that’s really a costly investment. We are looking at the right time,” he said.

Milan added the next three years will be a critical time for Mindanao to attract power investors because it’s uncertain whether the island will get similar “priority” as it does under the administration of former Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte, the first Mindanawon President.

“That’s why, it’s very crucial — the next three years. When Mindanao becomes competitive with the rest of the Philippines, then more investments will come in.  We will need additional power,” he said.

Addressing concerns on oversupply, Milan said the development of the P52-billion Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project (MVIP) will allow Mindanao to sell off excess power to Luzon and the Visayas.

“There is now a shared capacity between Visayas and Mindanao. The problem is when both sides, which are growing rapidly, have nothing left to give,” he said.

The P52-billion MVIP will connect Mindanao via a converter station in Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur to another converter station in Sibonga, Cebu through a 180-kilometer underwater cable. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)