1,500 MW committed by end of Aquino’s term
Committed power capacities will reach 1,500 megawatts nationwide by the end of the Aquino administration’s term, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla said.
However, that would still fall short of the expected capacity additions for the country to totally spare it from the horrors of a threatening power supply crisis, primarily in Luzon and Visayas.
During the groundbreaking rites of the 150-megawatt Panay Energy Development Corporation (PEDC) coal plant in Iloilo, the energy chief asserted “before the end of this administration, we will have 1,500MW of committed power capacities.”
In a follow-on interview with reporters, Petilla emphasized that the 1,500MW had not included yet the expanded Iloilo coal plant which will now advance to construction phase.
The energy chief was forthright though that ‘firm power investments’ would still not be enough to underpin the economic growth prospects penciled in by the Aquino administration’s economic managers.
“We are qualifying because there will be projects that will be delayed, but we are also hoping that there are ‘indicative projects’ that will hopefully advance,” Petilla said.
He cited in particular some investment proposals for Mindanao grid, which in 2015 will be expecting on stream some 500MW of additional capacity that can finally end its woes of rolling power outages.
By 2016, Petilla noted that FDC Utilities Inc. of the Filinvest group is expected to bring on-line its initial phase of 135-MW, yet based on need for added capacity in the grid, the project sponsor may step up the development of its two other phases.
The energy chief also acknowledged that there are hurdles to investments, primarily permitting and securing other various approvals from government agencies. “The question now is: how can we help them? A lot of them are already asking for our help,” he stressed.
For Luzon, based on the Department of Energy’s planning, capacity shortfall of 104 to 339MW will hit April to June 2017 if the Aquino administration cannot beef up the level of committed capacities for power projects. Supply tightness will still torment the grid starting next year, especially during peak-demand months.
Visayas grid is similarly threatened, but the expansion of the Iloilo coal plant plus other greenfield projects may still save the area from the ‘brownout cliff’.
The energy department has forecasted power demand growth of 4.2 to 4.6-percent with elasticity ratio of 0.6-percent. The assumed outage rate vis-à-vis total dependable capacity is 6.6-percent.