‘Mindanao needs 3,000 MW power capacity by 2030’

Edwin G. Espejo
‘Mindanao needs 3,000 MW power capacity by 2030’
This projection was announced by business leaders ahead of the 23rd Mindanao Business Conference, which opens September 1

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Mindanao needs to produce 3,000 megawatts (MW) of power supply by 2030 if it hopes to meet growing demand for electricity throughout the island.

This projection was announced by business leaders last week ahead of the 23rd Mindanao Business Conference, which opens here Monday, September 1.

Conference director Rey Billena said they expect more locators and big-ticket investors in Mindanao when the Philippines joins the ASEAN Economic Community next year.

Mindanao has been experiencing a power shortage, with only 1,379 MW capacity available.

During the height of the dry season in 2011, available capacity dropped to as low as 827 MW, causing blackouts of up to 12 hours in most of Mindanao’s 22 provinces.

Industry sources said annual growth in power supply in the island stands at 4.7%. Peak demand in the island stands at 1,328 MW as of September 1.

In 2009, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry said Mindanao needs an additional capacity of 100 MW every year to meet this demand.

Since 2009, however, only the 36-MW hydroelectric plant in Sibulan was added to the Mindanao grid.

Nevertheless, Billena is confident that power supply situation in Mindanao will stabilize next year when the 300 MW coal-fired power plant of the Aboitiz-owned Therma South in Davao City begins to operate.

The 100 MW first phase power plant of Sarangani Energy Corporation is also expected to go on stream in the last quarter of 2015.

The Mindanao grid has a total capacity of 1,820 MW, but many of the ageing hydroelectric plants of the National Power Corporation are no longer operating to their full capacities.

As of Monday, Mindanao only has a reserve capacity of 51 MW, way short of the industry requirement of 13% or 180 MW of the available capacity of 1,379 MW in the grid.

In a press conference last week, Billena urged the government to speed up connecting the Mindanao grid with the rest of Visayas and Luzon.

He said this would help alleviate the power shortage in the Mindanao.

Meanwhile, General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera also expressed confidence that the power supply problem in Mindanao would be addressed in the next couple of years.

“But of course, it will no longer be cheap,” he added.

Renne Subido of Peak Power also said Mindanao’s power supply problem would ease up starting next year.

Peak Power will begin supplying General Santos City and Sarangani with additional 20 MW from its bunker-fueled power plant in Apopong here.

General Santos was among the hardest-hit in the 2011 and 2013 power crisis in Mindanao with rotational blackouts of up to 12 hours.

Mindanao has been enjoying cheap power supply from hydroelectric plants. More than 60% of Mindanao’s energy sources come from the Agus and Pulangi hydroelectric plants, with a combined available capacity of 780 MW.

This could change next year when thermal power plants become the main energy source in the island.

Coal-fired power plants are projected to have a combined capacity of 700 MW at then end of 2015, while diesel-fired power plants will supply 488 MW to the grid.

The Mt. Apo Geothermal Plant currently supplies 102.5 MW.

Mindanao’s power situation is among the agenda of the Mindanao Business Conference this year. – Rappler.com

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