Stable power supply assured ahead of Malampaya shutdown

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    The Department of Energy (DOE) assured of sufficient power supply despite the two-week maintenance shutdown of the Malampaya gas-to-power project starting next week.

    DOE assistant secretary Redentor Delola said in a virtual briefing the damage to the power sector of typhoons Quinta and Rolly in the sector will not cause any supply problems.

    “Sual (coal power plant) is on outage at the moment. We moved its schedule ahead in order to accommodate the Malampaya shutdown. By that time, Sual will already be back online so supply will still be sufficient. There are also natural-gas fired power plants capable of operating from liquid fuel so they can temporarily convert for the meantime,” Delola said.

    He said power plants that shut down as contingency measures during the weather disturbances are now getting back online.

    The Malampaya natural gas resource is set to have its maintenance shutdown from November 14 to 27.

    The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines said as of October 28, available generating capacity in Luzon is at 10,447 megawatts (MW) compared to a peak demand of 8,157 MW.

    Available electricity supply in Visayas is at 2,069 MW against a peak demand of 247 MW as available power in Mindanao is at 2,954 MW for a peak demand of 1,800 MW.

    DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi discounted the possibility of a total ban on the operations of coal-fired power plants saying the country needs baseload sources of power.

    Cusi made this statement following calls to ban all coal power plant developments in the country after he announced the DOE will no longer endorse any new coal-fired power plant projects.

    “We understand that everybody is pushing for their preferred technology but we all know that we cannot (unilaterally stop coal power plant projects). Our country needs to address its power requirements. If we suddenly stop all these coal projects, where would we source that power supply?” Cusi said.

    He said the moratorium will only take effect on entirely new coal power plant project proposals as those that already secured key permits will still be allowed to be put up.

    “There will be an opening for other sources of energy to take the place of coal. This change in policy, we are doing this based on the needs of the country. We’ve seen that we already have enough supply for baseload so what we need to find right now are flexible sources.

    There will be no problems in supply, we are just balancing it,”Cusi added.