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South Philippines power crisis to extend till 2015
Publication Date : 02-10-2012
The Mindanao power crisis, which has resulted in frequent outages during the summer months, is expected to continue until 2015.
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said in a statement yesterday that the “gloomy projection” was disclosed by top executives of National Transmission Corp. during a recent briefing of members of the industry group’s energy committee headed by chamber vice president Jose Alejandro.
The transmission company said the absence of any baseload plant undergoing construction in the area was the main reason why power outages would continue to haunt the southern Philippine region in the next three years.
Demand for electricity in Mindanao, especially during peak hours of the day, far exceeded the available supply, according to experts. Peak demand this year has reached 1,515 megawatts. During summer, the shortfall was seen to reach an average 200 megawatts, or equivalent to the capacity of one medium-sized baseload power plant.
Dependent largely on a chain of hydro-electric plants along the Agus and Pulangi rivers, Mindanao is projected to experience regular brownouts in the summer of 2013 as droughts spawned by the El Niño phenomenon hit the region.
Business leaders have noted that several power projects in Mindanao have been approved by the Department of Energy but none has started apparently due to opposition or red tape in the offices of host local governments.
The good news, PCCI said, was that Luzon was seen to have enough power supply this coming year. The first 300-MW coal-fired plant built in Bataan by GN Power is set to be commissioned in January.
Another unit with a generating capacity of 300 MW will be ready for use by April.
The two plants, plus a small geothermal plant that will generate another 30 MW, will spare Luzon from crippling power shortages at least in the next couple of years, the PCCI said. A third plant being readied for construction in Masinloc, Zambales, is seen to keep Luzon supplied adequately until 2015.