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Strong growth to boost demand for electricity

MANILA, Philippines - Electricity demand in the Philippines is expected to rise in all three grids – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao – because of the expected growth in the economy, the Department of Energy (DOE) said in its latest power supply-demand projection.

This means that the government needs to ensure that there will be new power plants to meet the additional supply.

In its 2013 Supply-Demand Outlook, the DOE said that in Luzon alone, electricity demand is projected to increase at an average annual growth rate of 4.13 percent to 10,693 megawatts in 2020 from 7,969 MW last year.

“This will increase further to 16,477 MW in 2030,” the DOE said.

It said that on top of the committed power projects from the private sector, the grid still needs 8,100-MW of additional capacities composed of 6,000-MW base-load plant and 2,100-MW peaking plants to meet the electricity demand the required reserve margin of the grid.

In the Visayas grid, electricity demand is projected to increase at an average annual growth rate of 4.52 percent or to 2,237-MW in 2020.

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“With the current dependable capacity of 2,037-MW, the system will still need additional capacity of 1,700 MW which is composed of 1,300 MW base-load and 400 MW peaking power plants to meet the future electricity demand,” the Energy department also said.

Of the three grids, Mindanao has the largest growth rate projected.

It has a projected average annual growth rate of 4.57   percent, which is seen to bring demand to 2,068 MW in 2020 and further to 3,250 MW in 2030.

“Mindanao grid is experiencing under generation since 2010. The large power plant built in the region is the 210 MW Mindanao Coal-fired which was commissioned in 2006. The existing capacity in the region is composed of more than 50 percent hydroelectric power plant, which is dependent on the availability of water and affected by weather conditions. A total of 1,600 MW additional capacities are needed in the planning period to meet the electricity demand and the required reserve margin of the grid,” the DOE also said.

Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said that the situation would be addressed with private sector commitment to build new power plants every year.

“We are definitely on track as far as meeting the demands are concerned, taking into account that power plants are coming online every year,” Petilla said in a text message.

Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) officials last week warned that consumers may experience frequent blackouts across Luzon if no new power plants are established to support economic growth.

Citing the 2012 Power Development Plan (PDP), Petilla said in response to Meralco’s statement that the committed projects from 2013 to 2016 would provide a total of 868 MW, which is more than the estimated additional required capacity of 500 MW.

Meralco officials said that with the country’s strong economic growth, there might be tightness in supply from 2013 to 2016.

The Philippine economy grew 6.6 percent last year and is projected to grow by anywhere from six percent to seven percent this year.

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