Tag Archives: Agus-Pulangi hydropower complex

Mindanao power supply critical; gov’t acts to avert crisis

By Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer

EXPECTING A tight power supply in the fourth quarter, the Department of Energy has started mobilizing short-term solutions for Mindanao, including the possible rehabilitation of power plants
currently placed under “preservation” mode.

“We had an emergency meeting to discuss the current power situation as well as make preparations for the power requirements in the last quarter of the year in Mindanao. Details of proposed solutions are currently being studied due to legal and technical aspects,” said Energy Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras.

Almendras said that studies were being undertaken for the various options that could be implemented, which also included demand-side management and the use of available power-generation facilities “in a manner that will not drive the electricity cost too high.”

He said all concerned energy agencies would continue to meet weekly until a viable short-term solution has been put in place. These agencies included National Power Corp., National Electrification Administration, National Transmission Corp. and National Grid Corp. of the Philippines.

“The stakeholders and relevant parties will continuously be consulted,” he added.

The energy chief, however, did not say how much the shortfall in capacity in Mindanao would be by the end of the year. He disclosed earlier that the government expected a power supply shortage of only 50 megawatts on the island by 2011, if all the hydropower plants continued to operate at full capacities.

Should the country experience another El Niño as what happened earlier this year, the deficit would become bigger.

“Mindanao, in the past, has been reliant on hydroelectric power
for its affordability. However, in light of a protracted dry season this year, questions on its reliability have been made apparent,” Almendras said.

Mindanao sources more than half of its electricity requirements from hydropower sources, with the Agus-Pulangi hydropower complex providing about 900 MW.

Due to its heavy reliance on this particular source, Mindanao has been the most adversely affected by the prolonged drought this year as the reduced water levels at the dams drastically cut power-generating capacities to less than 10 percent.

“The DOE is keen on placing short-term solutions which will [lead] to a solution with more permanency. While placing secure and quality sources of energy is a major concern for Mindanao, the DOE is also putting emphasis on more power-generation investments from diverse sources on the island,” he added.

Almendras earlier said that he wanted the Mindanao grid to have at least 500 MW in base load generation from non-hydro sources like coal to insulate the island from severe power outages and unstable supply in the near future.

As of Wednesday, the Mindanao grid posted a power supply deficit of 117 MW.

Mindanao needs 500 MW in non-hydro power capacity

By Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted September 19, 2010

MANILA, Philippines—Energy Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras wants the Mindanao grid to have at least 500 megawatts (MW) in baseload generation capacity from non-hydro sources such as coal, to insulate the island from severe power outages and unstable supply in the near future.

“Our problem in Mindanao is our overdependence on hydropower,” Almendras said.

With climate change and the dry spell brought about by the El Niño phenomenon, water resources get scarce, threatening power supply in Mindanao, he said.

Almendras said the 500 MW of non-hydro baseload generation capacity was needed in Mindanao “since we cannot predict exactly what the water levels will be in Mindanao in the coming years.”

At present, Mindanao gets more than half of its electricity requirements from hydropower sources, with the Agus-Pulangi hydropower complex providing more than 900 MW. The drought experienced early this year reduced the water levels at the dams and cut power generating capacities on the island to less than 10 percent.

“Estimates show that power supply shortfall in Mindanao will only be 50 MW in 2011 but that is because of the assumption that all the hydropower plants will be on stream all year round. In order to insulate Mindanao from power outages, the most ideal thing is to install 500 MW of non hydro capacity,” Almendras said.

Over the next 20 years, Mindanao would need 2,500 MW in new capacity, according to Almendras.

He admitted that given the present situation, Mindanao must rely on clean coal-fired facilities to provide the additional capacity.

The good news, he said, was that the government had received commitments from private companies to push through with their coal projects in Mindanao.

Almendras said Conal Holdings Corp. of the Alcantara family would push through with the 200-MW coal facility (SM 200) in Sarangani, the first phase for which will start operating by 2012 while Phase 2 will be available by 2013. The same company, he added, will put up another 100-MW coal facility in Zamboanga (ZAM 100).

Steag State Power, Inc—composed of Aboitiz Power Corp., Evonik Steag GmbH of Essen, Germany, and the La Filipina Uy Gongco Corp.—is seen putting up a 200-MW coal plant in Misamis Oriental, he added.

“Although there is no definite schedule yet, we are in talks with them for a possible 24-month implementation,” he added.

The energy chief further admitted however that electricity prices in Mindanao would have to increase gradually to reflect the true cost of power and encourage the private sector
to infuse investments into the power sector on the island.

“The bigger challenge in Mindanao is the price. Our brothers in Mindanao have benefited from the low cost of hydro generation all these years, and going by the balance of power and supply, we cannot afford to put in too much technology that will result in a spike in the prices,” Almendras said.