Malampaya to go on 20-day break but no power shortage seen
The operator of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market said no generating capacity shortage is expected in October when the Malampaya gas field undergoes a 20-day maintenance from Oct. 2 to Oct. 22.
The Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (Iemop) said in a press briefing that based on the supply and demand projection for Aug. 25 to Dec. 25, “supply levels are generally sufficient to support the demand requirement.”
According to the forecast, available generating capacity in October, during the Malampaya maintenance, can hit as high as 15,807 megawatts (MW) while demand is expected to peak at 13,655 MW—a margin of 2,152 MW, which suggests normal grid operations.
In the five months to Dec. 25, the expected lowest average supply in Luzon and Visayas will be 14,795 MW, which will likely be experienced in September.
Forecast for Mindanao is separate as the integrated nationwide grid will not be realized until Visayas and Mindanao are linked between Cebu and Zamboanga del Norte through an ongoing project that is expected to be completed by next year.
In August alone, Iemop data show that lower spot prices were observed amid intermittent rains and thunderstorms along with the imposition of varying levels of quarantine restrictions.
The nonprofit group said that while spot prices averaged P6.52 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) last July, rates were down to P5.03 per kWh from Aug. 1 to Aug. 18.
Earlier, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian urged the Department of Energy to ensure that there would be no power outages during the 20-day Malampaya maintenance.
“We’ve been assured that brownouts will not happen during the summer season and that there’s sufficient supply, yet power interruption still took place from May 31 to June 2,” Gatchalian said in a statement.
“I do not wish to call them out on this for the second time in a matter of just four months,” said the lawmaker, who chairs the Senate energy committee.
He said we cannot afford to have another round of rotational brownouts especially with more hospitals now burdened with rising numbers of COVID-19 patients and COVID-19 vaccines storage facilities needing an uninterruptible supply of power.
Malampaya supplies fuel to five power plant complexes in Batangas, which account for about one-fifth of electricity produced in the country.
The 1,200-MW Ilijan plant, 1,000-MW Sta. Rita plant, 500-MW San Lorenzo plant, and 97-MW Avion plant are designed to accommodate alternative albeit more expensive fuels— such as diesel, gas condensate, naphtha or a combination of this—to continue operations.
But the 414-MW San Gabriel plant can run only on gas.
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