Brownouts loom if plant repair not done this month

By: Doris C. Bongcac February 06,2014 - 07:08 AM

DOE Regional Director Antonio Labios gives an update on Cebu’s energy supply during a public hearing at the Cebu City Council session hall. (CDN PHOTO/ JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Repairs of the geothermal plant in Leyte will have to be completed this month to ensure that the Visayas grid meets a  15 to 20 percent increase in power demand during the summer months, energy officials said yesterday.

Department of Energy Regional Director Antonio Labios said any power shortage would result in the return of rotation brownouts experienced after Yolanda’s devastation last Nov. 8.

“The power situation (in the Visayas grid) now is stable.  We have ample supply but the scenario may change with more demand during the months of March, April and May,” he said in yesterday’s Cebu City Council session.

As of yesterday, only three of  the seven power plants in Leyte have resumed operations producing 250 megawatts of power, said Neil Martin Medina of the operations division of the National Grid Corp. (NGCP).

Labios said the Visayas grid needs 1,300 to 1,500 megawatts daily.

He said the repair of the four other plants will depend on the availability of spare parts that  have to be imported mainly from the United States.



Once operational, the four geothermal power plants will add another 200 megawatts of power, or even more, to the Visayas grid.

Labios said the ongoing repair of the Leyte geothermal plants meant that 200 megawatts of the grid’s power requirement is now sourced from power producers in Luzon.

According to the NGCP website, systems capacity for the Visayas was at 1,386 megawatts as of 6 a.m. on Wednesday while power demand was recorded at 1,325 with a 61 megawatt reserve.

Medina said Cebu province alone draws 730 megawatts or about 55 percent of the grid’s daily power.

He said that Cebu have not been experiencing power interruptions since Dec. 21, 2013 except when there are emergencies or systems maintenance works because augmentation power from Luzon.



But the situation will change with the hot weather that will be experienced starting next month and with the resumption of business operations in Leyte anytime.

Labios said since many of the businesses in Leyte province haven’t resumed operations after the typhoon hit, power supply in the grid is still enough to support the Visayas region’s daily power demand.

“But we hope that the geothermal plant will already recover with any spike in power demand during the summer time,” he said.

Councilor Nestor Archival said Cebu City and Cebu province needs a stable power supply.  Brendon Arriesgado, a designer and installer of solar generators, also lobbied for use of renewable energy in Cebu City households.

“My goal is just to start awareness of government that energy supply in the city and the country in general should follow the international standards for the country to be attractive to renewable energy investors,” said Arriesgado.



He complained about the failure of power distributors to comply with international standards that will make it easier for renewable energy producers to connect to the grid.

“Even with a small solar panel in every home in Cebu, I don’t think we will have a power crisis in Cebu anymore,” Arriesgado told the council.

A solar panel  can generate 20 kilowatts a  day.   Production of 20 kilowatts of energy will result in  energy savings of P180 per day, he added.

Mark Anthony Indica of Veco’s operations division said “net metering” is used for power consumers who also own solar panels.

Labios said DOE is accepting renewable energy investors and will soon sign  an agreement with the Cebu provincial government and the Climate Change Commission on the promotion of renewable energy here.



Veco: Almost done restoring power

Veco ready, keeps watch over Leyte power plants

Brownouts to go on

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TAGS: DOE, electricity, NGCP, power, rehabilitation, repair, Yolanda

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