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Saturday, December 2, 2023

DOE assures Senate of enough power supply next year

The Department of Energy (DOE) expressed optimism there would be no power supply shortage in the dry months next year with the entry of more power plants.

“There are a lot of RE [renewable energy] generators that are coming in until the end of this year and starting next year.  And if all those projects are able to fulfill all requirements for permits, and they are able to construct, we should not have that problem next year,” DOE Undersecretary Rowena Guevara said in a Senate hearing last week.

“As long as there’s no sudden increase in the demand, if demand stays based on our projection of 3 percent growth then it should not be a problem,” Guevara said.

She said the power supply constraints experienced in the dry months this year were not as bad was what the DOE expected.

Guevara said the shutdown of the 1,200-megawatt Ilijan natural gas plant in 2022 affected available supply, and it was only in July this year that it resumed operations.

“So summer was really a precarious time for us when we didn’t have enough supply,” she said.

When asked what percentage or level of assurance DOE could give that there would be no problems during the coming dry months, Guevara said “I would say we are at 97 percent… Barring natural disasters like that we should be okay in summer.”

Guevara said in a previous conference that power supply was expected to remain stable in the Luzon grid in the remaining months of 2023.

“With all assumptions considered such as  planned outages, forced outage assumptions, additional capacity additions  and deration of hydroelectric power plant output due to the El Nino  phenomenon, we are seeing possible four yellow alerts in the Luzon grid,” the official said.

The grid operator declares a yellow alert when there is not enough power reserves. There is no power outage or interruption during a yellow alert.

“With the operation of the Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project, we are seeing zero alert for the rest of the year for Visayas. The same thing for Mindanao,” Guevara said.

She said demand in Mindanao was about two-thirds of available supply, while Visayas has power problems in the evening when their solar power  plants are not producing.

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