Tight supply till 2016 but no power failure
MANILA, Philippines – Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla admitted that electricity supply will be tight until 2016 but guaranteed that there will be no power failure.
In a Senate hearing into the power rate hike of Manila Electric Company (Meralco), senators asked Petilla about reports that the Philippines will suffer a power crisis in 2015.
“Plants coming in will give enough capacity in 2016, 2017,” Petilla said on Thursday, January 23.
“From now up to 2016, there is an additional 1,400 megawatts committed. Two plants indicated they will finish construction before 2016.”
He said the Department of Energy (DOE) is coordinating with power generators in forecasting demand, and to see who is putting up plants and when.
“From 2014 to 2016, there will be tightness in supply but there is no power failure. It’s not like in the eighties when we had 10-hour power failures in a day.”
Petilla said the DOE is looking at coal, geothermal, and liquefied natural gas as energy sources.
Senator JV Ejercito asked Petilla’s stand on rehabilitating the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).
Petilla said, “Many people think that if we go nuclear, the Meralco bill will be halved. In reality, if BNPP operates, [the difference may not be that significant]. It’s not just a BNPP issue but a nuclear energy issue as a whole.”
‘165 steps to set up plant’
Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara asked Petilla for a long-term plan to ensure stable supply, and investment in the power sector.
“What are our steps? I was told 100 approvals, signatures are necessary to make a new power facility,” Angara asked Petilla.
Petilla responded that there are actually 165 steps needed. He said it also takes 4 to 6 years to set up a power plant.
Angara said, “’Di nakakagulat nandito tayo sa sitwasyong ito.” (It’s not surprising we’re in this situation.)
To address the problem, Petilla said the government can certify priority projects as urgent, and pass a law to ensure that the plants quickly get the necessary permits. Angara asked him to submit a report on efforts to streamline the process.
165 steps to set up a power facility!!! Grabe we must do something about that I asked Sec Petilla to streamline processes— Sonny Angara (@sonnyangara) January 23, 2014
‘Don't block power plants'
Senate Energy Committee Chairman Sergio “Serge” Osmeña III and Senator Pia Cayetano highlighted the problem of environmentalists and local government units’ opposition to the construction of power plants like coal-fired facilities.
Cayetano cited the case of earthquake-hit Bohol, which is suffering from a power outage because it is connected to the Leyte grid. The Leyte grid went down after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) ravaged the Visayas.
Cayetano said, “I'm all for environmental protection but it's about balancing. It is the DOE’s responsibility to bring together LGUs for an energy summit to make them aware.”
Petilla said his department is already coordinating with LGUs.
Osmeña admitted that lawmakers failed to foresee the delays that the opposition and court cases will cause.
“These activities, greenies and writs of kalikasan caused delays in building plants like in Subic. It should have been onstream in 2015. Now, it will take until 2016 or 2018. We have to live with some compromises." – Rappler.com