Concerns over aging power plants must be addressed

sual plant team energy

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has called on the Department of Energy (DOE) to come up with a policy on the country’s aging power plants, a factor behind last week’s Red Alerts in Luzon.

During the House Committee on Energy’s hearing on Friday, ERC Chairperson Agnes Devanadera said that most of the power plants in Luzon are at least 16 years old, something that the DOE may want to look into. She is particularly concerned that these older plants may not be that efficient anymore.

Based on ERC data, the said plants account for 10,201 megawatts (MW) or 71.7% of dependable capacity for the country’s largest grid.

Among the generating facilities that are at least 16 years old are the 600MW Calaca coal plant in Batangas, which opened in 1984, and the 1,294MW Sual coal plant in Pangasinan (photo above), which commenced operations in 1999. The bogging down of Calaca’s 300MW Unit 2 and Sual’s 647 Unit 2 were major contributors to the rotational brownouts that spanned the early part of last week.

Back in 2016, the DOE inked an agreement with the Institute of Integrated Electrical Engineers of the Philippines to organize several task forces to audit the whole power industry in a bid to determine technical or contractual issues, then come up with solutions would be institutionalized. The audit’s results have yet to be released.

The Senate Committee on Energy, meanwhile, has set its hearing on the Red Alerts this coming Wedensday (June 9).


Photo from TeaM Energy website.