DOE: Enough power reserves for the next 6 months

Lotilla DOE Chief

Should there be no major breakdowns of power plants, the country has enough power reserves for the next six months, Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Raphael Lotilla said during the organizational meeting of the Senate Committee on Energy. 

However, Lotilla has already expressed concerns about supply for the summer months and said that DOE would address the unutilized or stranded power. He added that transmission constraints needed to be fixed to address the issue. 

Lotilla said that the cool weather would give the country higher power reserves, citing that “for every one-degree centigrade difference, it’s an addition or deduction of 100 megawatts (MW).” 

Power demand usually increases during the summer months when temperatures rise, causing thin power reserves in the grid. In June, yellow alerts were recorded in the Luzon Grid as several power plants went on unplanned outages and derated capacities. 

The energy secretary said price is accounted for in red and yellow alerts rather than supply, “because there’s a secondary price cap that the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) imposed.” 

Lotilla said the country should shift to hybrid systems to end its dependence on petroleum and petroleum-based fuels, otherwise, the country will always experience volatility in prices. 

He added that investments must be made for renewable energy sources like solar and wind, and other new technologies like ocean, thermal, hydrogen, and offshore wind energy. 

Addressing the country’s energy transition goal, as well as high electricity prices cannot happen overnight considering the current generation mix that the country has, Lotilla said. 

Lotilla added that the country should also explore modular nuclear plants along with the regional approach with other ASEAN countries. 

Under the country’s current on-grid power generation mix, coal accounts for 58% of the mix, followed by renewable energy at 22%, gas at 18%, and oil at two percent.