The Energy Department said over the weekend it will tighten the rules on coal-fired power plants to ensure that these facilities meet the standards on emissions, fuel quality and coal handling.
“We are meeting with the coal plant operators and generators because we want to be more strict with standards, emissions and fuel quality,” Monzada told reporters.
She said the regulations would also cover the storage, handling and distribution of coal. “We want to impose more strict standards so that even dust particles are minimized,” she said.
Monsada said the department planned to categorize the power plants, into basedload, mid-merit or peaking plants.
“So we will know what to do to let natural gas and renewable energy competitive because if you recall, all power supply agreements have to undergo CSP [competitive selection process]. But coal is really the cheapest, except hydro, so we need the categorization,” she said.
Monsada said the department’s task was to ensure sufficient and reliable power “but not just any type of power.”
“What’s happening now, because investments in the power sector are private-sector driven, they see coal because it is faster and cheaper to build. But eventually, by itself, it will correct because the coal plants are baseload,” Monsada said.
“If you have too much baseload, they won’t build many more baseload plants. Because you can’t easily turn it on and off. While we still allow coal plants, it should be of the latest technology, which can reduce emissions compared to the other [existing] coal plants,” she said.
Monsada said the department wanted a balanced energy mix by 2030, which would be composed of 30-percent renewable energy, 30-percent coal, 30-percent natural gas and 10-percent oil.
Data from the Energy Department showed that as of June 2015, there were around 5,800 megawatts of installed capacity of coal-fired power plants located across the country’s three power grids. The bulk or 4,775.6 MW was in the Luzon grid.
The existing coal plants in Luzon are Pagbilao (764 MW), Calaca (600 MW), Masinloc (630 MW), Sual (1,294 MW), Quezon Power (511 MW), Apec (50 MW), Mariveles (651.6 MW), Petron (140 MW) and South Luzon Thermal Energy Corp. (135 MW).
Existing coal plants in the Visayas include Toledo Power Corp. (88.8 MW), Cebu Thermal Power Plant (106.8 MW), CEDC (246 MW), PEDC (164 MW) and Kepco (200 MW) while the only existing coal plant in Mindanao is the 232 MW Mindanao coal plant.
Data also showed that some 5,000 MW of additional capacity coming from 49 coal-fired plants were expected to come online by 2019. These would include the 300-MW Southwest Luzon Power Generation Corp. and the remaining 135 MW of South Luzon Thermal.