TWO of the country’s power producers have given assurances that they can generate at least 200 megawatts (MW) of additional power to meet the spike in demand expected during the next summer, the Department of Energy (DOE) said.
Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said on Friday that Petron Corporation and the Lopez-owned First Gen Corporation could produce additional power supply. However, he said that the 200 MW is still way below his projection to meet the expected demand next year.
He said Petron’s coal fired power plant is expected to generate 100 MW by summer of 2015. In addition, First Gen’s power plant in Batangas is also expected to add 100 MW to the Luzon grid starting summer next year.
“Only Avion and Petron are sure and that’s only 200 MW,” he told The Manila Times in a text message.
To address the problem, Petilla said 600 MW is needed to act as a buffer supply during the peak months.
He said there is still no final number for the Interruptible Load Program (ILP), which could help alleviate the impact of short reserves next summer.
Under the ILP, firms with standby generators are asked to switch off from the grid and use their generators when called upon to do so.
Petilla, however, said the implementation of ILP is largely voluntary and that most firms are hesitant to participate.
“The ILP is the biggest hope that we have but it also has a lot of problems. Take note that the ILP has been in existence for quite sometime, it’s been on since December. We’ve worked it out already, so you can’t say that the government has no problem,” said Petilla.
He currently estimates the ILP capacity at 50 MW compared to the full 115 MW figure, due to the fact that the generators are not running for 24 hours.
Petilla explained that the country will need 9,100 MW of power next year. This is higher than this year’s demand of 8,700 MW because of a projected robust economy, specially in the manufacturing sector.
Citing the performance of existing power producers and the delays in the completion of some power plants, Petilla expressed fears that a power problem is looming because of the tight supply next year.