The Luzon grid has to be placed on yellow alert for three consecutive days after the increasing demand for electricity in spite of additional supply put into the grid from new power plants, a Department of Energy (DOE) official said.
“We hit our forecast on peak demand and even exceeded it by 300 megawatts [MW]. It happened the other day. Thus, we need capacity. I am not saying we lack the capacity now but we need it because demand is rising,” Energy Assistant Secretary Redentor Delola said to BusinnesMirror reporters.
A yellow alert is announced when there aren’t enough reserves to cover the largest running generating at the time, however it does not automatically result in power outages.
National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) issued a yellow alert on Luzon from May 30 to June 1 due to scarce reserves as a result of high power demand and unexpected shutdown of some power plants.
Luzon was expected to hit 10,500 MW between the second and third weeks of May. On May 17, peak demand hit 10,688 MW, based on a DOE forecast.
Hike in demand came from outside the franchise area of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), Delola noted.
“Most probably, it was not within Meralco franchise area. Our growth is now outside the economic center. We are still looking for possible reasons. We will also look at individual submissions of distribution utilities,” he added.
DOE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi admitted that Philippines needs more capacity.
Cusi said that the demand for power is growing as the growing economy brings out more commercial activities. To sustain national development, the country would need power plants like the Pagbilao Unit 3.
“The plant will also go a long way in supplying the energy needs of the country beyond the Duterte administration, thereby supporting future businesses.”
Delola mentioned that another power plant is providing Luzon additional capacity, which is the second unit of SMC Consolidated Power Corp.’s power plant in Limay, Bataan.
“During the summer months, as projected, we will not have any problem as long as the new power plants will come in and run,” Delola had to BusinessMirror.
The load growth for the past five years indicates the growing trend of peak power demands occurring in the month of May: 8,304 MW on May 8, 2013; 8,717 MW on May 21, 2014; 8,928 MW on May 21, 2015; 9,726 MW on May 3, 2016; and 10,054 MW on May 9, 2017.
Aside from the 570 MW capacity of Pagbilao 3 and Limay Unit 2, Delola said the government could still use the state-owned 650-MW Malaya thermal plant.