PH needs more peaking plants to address power demand spikes, says Pippa
The Philippine Independent Power Producers Association (Pippa) is calling for additional peaking plants instead of baseload plants as red alerts in Luzon continue.
Peaking plants run only as needed, when consumer demand exceeds available capacity from baseload plants (those that run round the clock).
The grid needs to address demand spikes that happen around 2 percent of the time in the entire year,” Pippa said. “This means peaking capacity is needed, not more baseload capacities that will not be used 98 percent of the time.”
“We already have capacities at present in addition to new and increased capacities, which continue to be added in the coming years,” the group added.
With electricity demand rising due to a mild El Niño and the midterm elections, forced outages are a natural and inevitable occurrence in all types of technology, including power plants.
Several generators going on forced outage last April prompted National Grid Corp. of the Philippines to start a series of red alerts as projections showed that peak demand was likely to exceed the remaining available power generating capacity in the Luzon grid.
“A forced outage is an engineering issue, something that is not foreseen or cannot be reasonably predicted,” the group said. “For efficient technologies, there is a certain percentage of allowable forced outage and this is reflected on what we call predictive analytics, which prescribe, among others, reliability standards—number of days a technology may likely experience a forced outage.”
On allegations that power firms were colluding to stage plant outages so electricity prices would go up or power supply contracts would be approved, Pippa said its members supported a competitive market and they were open to investigation by regulators.
“While it is quite unfortunate that there have been forced outages affecting all of us, these are, again, isolated and unforeseen incidents that were aggravated by several factors at that particular time,” Pippa said.
“We, generators, are committed to solve these problems at the soonest possible time because the more we stay offline and experience technical difficulties, the greater impact it has on the financial viability of the plant,” the group added.