Two Iloilo coal-fired plants to boost power in Visayas
New power plants can add at least 200 MW to Visayas grid when completed
Two coal-fired power plants set to operate within the year are seen to boost the capacity of the Visayas Grid and offset supply deficiencies due to problems with solar power plants in the region.
Noriel Christopher Reyes, science research specialist of the Department of Energy (DOE) said that there are supply fluctuations from solar power plants due to the nature of these sources.
“Renewable energy is good. But in terms of actual operation, there are fluctuations in supply because these sources are intermittent. They are subject to weather conditions,” he said during the Energy 101 Summit at Harolds Hotel in Cebu City on Wednesday.
He said solar power plants supplying to the Visayas Grid can generate 300 to 350 megawatts (MW) on an average sunny day, but may also produce nothing at all when it rains or when skies are overcast.
Solar power facilities supplying power to the Visayas Grid included the 18-MW solar farm of Bronzeoak Philippines Inc. and AC Energy Holdings in Bais City, Negros Oriental, and 19-MW San Carlos Solar Energy project in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.
The two coal-fired power plants Reyes referred to are the 150-MW expansion project of the Panay Energy Development Corp. (PEDC) which is to start operating next month and the 135-MW power plant unit by Palm Thermal Consolidated Holdings Corp. which will be operational by September this year, both in Iloilo.
A second 135-MW unit by Palm is also set to operate in Iloilo by December 2018.
These are among 10 committed private sector projects in the Visayas with a total rated capacity of 607.38 MW as of June 30 this year.
“Visayas needs more baseload capacity. This means there should be a stable supply of power 24/7,” said Reyes.
Reyes said the Visayas Grid has a dependable capacity of around 2,400 MW and an actual capacity of 2,100 MW including solar power sources.
This is reduced to 1,800 to 1,900 MW at night when solar power plants stop generating power, he added.
The demand for power from the Visayas Grid averaged around 1,700 MW in the first half of 2016.
Contrary to Luzon where coal-fired power plants dominated as sources of power in 2014, more than half of power generated in the Visayas in the same year came from geothermal power plants while the remaining half came from other sources.
Earlier, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said there is a need to build more baseload power plants while also aggressively pushing for clean energy.
He admitted that the Philippines isn’t at a point yet in its economic development where it can rely solely on renewable energy.
Cusi’s statement was based on the pronouncements of President Rodrigo Duterte not to honor the 2015 Paris Agreement entered into by 200 countries vowing to cut down carbon emissions by 70 percent come 2030.
Sheryl delos Santos, Global Business Power (GBP) Corp. external affairs manager, said they agree that there is a need to prioritize baseload power plants.
“We need to secure first what is needed. Baseload is what drives growth,” she said.
GBP is the proponent of PEDC and the Cebu Energy Development Corp. (CEDC) based in Toledo City.
The Philippine economy grew by 6.9 percent in the first quarter of 2016, exceeding market expectations.
Delos Reyes said that the energy sector is vital to growth of a country as it is closely linked to economic development.
“If there is a stable power supply, investors are more inclined to develop their businesses here,” she said.
She added that if there is no support for the energy industry, economic growth will be suppressed.
GBP organized yesterday’s activity as a way to help spread basic understanding of the country’s power sector.
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