THE Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) on Friday recommended the postponement of the planned fuel shift of the 1,200-megawatt (MW) Ilijan combined-cycle power plant from biodiesel to pure diesel given the looming power shortage next summer.
PSALM president and chief executive officer Emmanuel Ledesma Jr. said a fuel shift might not help in augmenting the expected power shortage next year because it will not guarantee an increase in the load of the plant’s Block 1.
“The fuel shift will not provide assurance that the load of the plant’s Block 1 would increase from 420 MW to 600 MW whenever the natural gas supply from the Malampaya is not available,” he said.
In any case, Ledesma said, this shift from biodiesel to pure diesel cannot be completed in time for the Malampaya shutdown, which is slated from March to April next year.
Ledesma said that only the Ilijan plant’s Block 1 would be available in 2015, as Block 2 will be on planned maintenance outage during the Malampaya turnaround shutdown from March 20 until April 20, 2015.
He explained that the change in the Ilijan power plant’s alternative fuel was proposed to augment power supply during the Malampaya shutdown in 2015.
The shift is expected to ensure operation of Ilijan’s Block 1 at its full 600-MW capacity.
Ledesma said a fuel shift cannot guarantee an increase in capacity, citing the last performance test of the plant using liquid fuel conducted 13 years ago and the effect of plant degradation and changes in ambient temperature during its operation.
Should the shift to pure diesel proceed, Ledesma said it would require around six months to complete the needed preparatory activities which will extend beyond March 2015.
Because of this, Ledesma said they are recommending the postponement of the fuel shift and suggesting that Ilijan stick with biodiesel instead.
“Hence, PSALM recommends the continued use of biodiesel for Ilijan to ensure continuous power supply during the 2015 Malampaya shutdown,” Ledesma said.
Ilijan’s usable liquid fuel storage of about 30 million liters is good for five days at 1,200 MW, and for about 13 days at 420 MW.
Based on the limitation of the jetty and fuel storage facility, PSALM’s simulation results show that beginning with full storage tanks, inventory and fuel deliveries through barges during operation, the plant can sustain 25 days liquid operation of one Block.
The plant will need to be shut down for five days to be able to clean combustor fuel nozzle and fuel oil system in preparation for natural gas firing operation.
The Ilijan plant, located in Batangas Province, is under a build-operate-transfer contract with Kepco-Ilijan Corp. (KEILCO).
Through PSALM, the government is responsible for the plant’s fuel supply based on the Energy Conversion Agreement (ECA) with KEILCO.
Under the ECA, KEILCO shall make its best effort to synchronize Ilijan’s maintenance with the Malampaya shutdown. Each Block has a rated capacity of 600 MW.