DOE: Luzon power supply adequate, but October may see thin reserves

THE Department of Energy (DOE) gave assurances on Tuesday that Luzon has adequate power supply until this year, but warned that the grid operator could issue yellow alert notices in October due to thin reserves. 

“Only up to end of this year, but we’re reviewing the demand-supply outlook for entire 2023 because we have lost the fuel for Ilijan which is 1200 megawatts (MW),” DOE Secretary Raphael Lotilla said, when asked by Senate Energy Committee Chairman Raffy Tulfo if Luzon has enough supply.

Based on the DOE materials presented at the hearing, there will be sufficient but thin reserves, with possibility of yellow alerts, during the months of August and October.

A yellow alert is issued by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) when the operating margin falls below the contingency reserve requirement.

 “For the Luzon grid, for the remaining months of the year, the yellow line is for the required contingency reserve. We are in danger of not meeting the required contingency reserves in the month of October,” Lotilla said. 

The required contingency reserve for week 40 is 647MW, 663MW for week 41, 500MW for week 42, and 520MW for week 43. “We are in danger of not meeting the required contingency reserves in month of October. In August, we have already passed that. Fortunately, there were no interruptions,” he said.

The DOE took into account the unplanned outages of power plants that could significantly deplete the power supply of the grid, including the Ilijan plant. 

The said plant is no longer sourcing fuel from the Malamapaya gas field. Malampaya operator Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. said earlier that its gas supply and purchase agreement (GSPA) with the National Power Corp. (NPC) for supply of indigenous natural gas to the Ilijan gas-fired power plant has concluded.

The new owner of Ilijan plant may utilize banked gas to fuel the plant, which could serve its requirements until February 2024. However, the delivery of the banked gas has yet to commence.

Image credits: Nonie Reyes

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