• DOE urges energy savings with shutdown of Malampaya plant

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    Amid the threat of a higher power rates and tightening of power supply during the Malampaya Platform shutdown this November, the energy department is calling on consumers from the corporate level to consumer level to save energy.

    “If we don’t do this and we have a problem, it may get worse. Also, the people must be prepared for higher electricity rates. After all, the most expensive electricity is having no electricity,” Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said.

    The Department of Energy (DOE) is continuously coordinating with the Malampaya Consortium, power generation companies, and the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) to ensure adequate supply of power during the Malampaya Platform maintenance period from November 9 to December 8, 2013.

    The DOE explained that the shutdown must be executed to sustain the integrity and reliability of the platform for natural gas production.

    However, it is appealing to manufacturing plants and large power consuming establishments in Luzon to coincide maintenance activities with the Malampaya maintenance itself, so as to minimize the effect on their electricity bills.

    For households, the DOE is urging the undertaking of energy efficiency and conservation efforts, such as unplugging electrical appliances, turning off lights when not in use, and use of other energy efficient technologies.

    The Malampaya gas project provides natural gas to the 1,200-megawatt Ilijan combined cycle natural gas plant owned by Kepco Philippines Corp., and the 1,000-MW Santa Rita, and 500-MW San Lorenzo natural gas facilities of First Gen Corp.

    These power plants will run on liquid condensate to provide sufficient energy supply during the course of the maintenance of Malampaya.

    Combined, the Ilijan, Santa Rita, and San Lorenzo power plants provide about 40 percent of the power supply in Luzon.

    Last week, Petilla said that the shutdown of Malampaya will trigger a “significant” price hike in the power bills of consumers. In his own estimates, Petilla said the power rate will increase as much as P2 per kilowatt hour.

    This was later on confirmed by Oscar Reyes, Meralco president and chief executive officer.

    Building industry involvement
    The energy department is also for pushing for energy efficiency initiatives to avoid a domino effect that starts from growing power demand, which eventually leads to the tightening of power supply.

    In cooperation with the Japan Business Alliance for Smart Energy Worldwide (JASE-W), Asean-Center for Energy (ACE), and the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, Japan (METI), the DOE hosted a conference on energy efficient technologies that aimed to boost the implementation of energy efficiency in the building industry.

    “The best way to avoid building more power plants is to focus on energy efficiency,” Petilla said.

    He said that the key to a growing economy is practicing energy efficiency and building partnerships among industry players, in addition to proper information dissemination to the public.

    The Conference on Energy Efficient Technologies in the Philippines (Business Sourcing and Matching Opportunities) is part of the Asean-Japan Energy Efficiency Partnership (Ajeep), which seeks to establish cooperation on energy efficiency initiatives between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Japan.

    The event highlighted discussions and presentations on the utilization of emerging technologies in the building sector of the Philippines, such as heat pump technology, energy-efficient chiller application, and other energy saving and “green” products from Japan.

    There were also business sourcing and matching activities between Philippine and Japanese companies, to introduce new energy efficiency and conservation technologies and systems in the local market.

    Around 200 participants, including building experts from Japan, officials from different government agencies, and energy efficiency and conservation practitioners from the academe, private sector, among others, attended the event.

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