Ample power flows to Mindanao
The severe power supply crunch in Mindanao may have started to ease with the completion of preventive-maintenance activities for the first unit of the 210-megawatt coal-fired power facility of Steag State Power Inc. last Sunday.
In a report, Steag communication officer Jerome R. Soldevilla said that Unit 1 of Steag’s coal plant has already started supplying 105 MW to the Mindanao grid last November 4—a development that is expected to improve the precarious power supply condition on the island. But as of Monday morning, the power supply shortage in Mindanao still stood at a high 322 MW.
The 105-MW Unit 2, which is now undergoing similar preventive maintenance activities, is expected to become operational by November 10 as scheduled.
In a text message, Energy Undersecretary Josefina Patricia M. Asirit said the energy department expected the second unit to resume commercial operations earlier than scheduled, bringing relief to Mindanao power consumers who had to cope with intermittent power outages on the island.
Unit 1 was shut down on October 6 while Unit 2 was closed for repairs on October 29 for maintenance and repair work. This was the first time Steag State Power undertook extensive work on its power facilities since it started commercial operations in November 2006, Soldevilla said.
He added that the company took into consideration the projected electricity demand-supply condition of Mindanao during the period. The overarching goal, he explained, was to minimize the adverse impact of a power supply shortfall on the island.
Although the shutdown inconvenienced Mindanaoans for a brief period, it would, however, bring long-term benefits for all consumers in terms of the plant’s operational reliability.
During its first six years of operation, the coal facility sustained an availability rate of 93.3 percent and a low unplanned outage rate of less than 1 percent. The company is confident that it can achieve an overall availability rate of 91 percent by the end of this year, Soldevilla said.
Steag’s coal facility has expanded the electricity generation mix on the island and has contributed much to the stability of the grid. The plant is considered to be the biggest and most modern in Mindanao.
Steag State Power is a special purpose company established to build, operate and maintain Mindanao’s first coal-fired power plant. The company is principally owned by Steag GmbH of Germany.