Mindanao power supply stable despite El Niño – MinDA

The Agus VI hydroelectric plant at the foot of Maria Cristina Falls in Iligan City. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/2 April) – The Mindanao grid would not be affected by the El Niño phenomenon due to its current energy mix and sufficient supply status, Mindanao Development Authority Assistant Secretary Romeo Montenegro said.

“Mindanao’s current energy mix and supply status may be able to spare Mindanao from the effects of long dry spell to our power situation,” Montenegro said on Tuesday.

He explained that the hydropower sources now accounted for 30 percent of Mindanao’s energy mix unlike five years ago when it was 50 percent, making the island’s power production vulnerable to environmental disturbances.

“Mindanao also enjoys power surplus averaging 800 megawatts mostly coming from coal-fired power plants which have recently come online,” the official said.

As of 1 p.m. on Tuesday, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines said the Mindanao grid has a reserve of 569 megawatts.

But Montenegro said that for some electric cooperatives or distribution utilities, the determining factors “as to whether or not El Niño will result to brownouts” would have been the contracted supply portfolio.

“For instance, an electric co-op with substantial supply contract from hydro, e.g. Agus-Pulangi, and with no financial flexibility to contract non-hydro sources in the interim will likely be affected with El Niño-induced reduced output from hydropower plants,” he said.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) reported at least 17 provinces in Mindanao would be hit by a dry spell and 11 others by drought beginning end of April.

The dry spell would hit Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Compostela Valley, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, Davao Oriental, North Cotabato, Saranga Agusan Del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Sur, Basilan and Lanao del Sur.

The provinces that would be affected by drought are Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Misamis Occidental, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

Mindanao provinces will experience under normal rainfall condition this month. Except for Misamis Occidental and Dinagat Island provinces, they will receive near-normal rainfall conditions by May.

According to PAGASA, dry spell occurs when there are three consecutive months of below-normal rainfall conditions or two consecutive months of way below normal rainfall conditions.

Drought refers to three consecutive months of way below normal rainfall or five consecutive months of below-normal rainfall conditions, it added. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)