Visayas grid gets 505.3MW from private power projects
Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman) - January 27, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The total capacity of private-led committed power projects for the Visayas grid as of November 2015 reached 505.30 megawatts, latest data from the Department of Energy showed.

The committed projects include two coal (270 MW), one oil-based plant (18.9 MW), one geothermal (10 MW), four hydro projects (21.9 MW), two solar (150.50 MW), one wind (14 MW) and two biomass (20 MW).

More than half of the capacity will come from two coal-fired power plants, with 270 MW, which are targeted for commercial operations later this year.

Some of the committed projects have already operated starting last year while others are set for commercial operations this year and next year through 2019.

EPIRA

During the recent inauguration of the 300-MW coal-fired plant of Aboitiz Power in Davao City early this month, CEO Erramon I. Aboitiz, said that the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001 has allowed private investments to come in the power industry.

Aboitiz said the EPIRA law has transformed the country's power industry positively from a "monopolized, politicized and highly subsidized structure into one that is competitive."

For his part, President Benigno Aquino III, who was present in that inauguration, said the EPIRA has allowed the private sector to professionalize the power sector. Aquino also stressed the need to foster an environment that would encourage the private sector to make massive investments in energy.

EPIRA was made into law to restructure the power industry by privatizing the assets of the government-owned National Power Corp. to streamline processes and lower down utility prices.

Aquino said that EPIRA was the solution to the ballooning debt of NPC – which was at P1.2 trillion in year 2000 – by selling its plants to private entities, with proceeds being used to pay off debt, thus freeing up the necessary fiscal space for more projects and programs.

"The private sector could then professionalize the power sector: decisions would be made solely based on sound economic policies, while at the same time continuing to service our nation's growing need for energy," Aquino said in his speech at the recent plant inauguration.

Meanwhile, the DoE said Visayas consistently needs more power investments.

"We need more power investments with our constant progress and increasing population and demand," Saul Gonzales, chief at the Energy Industry Management Division, had said in a previous interview.

As of yesterday afternoon, the Visayas grid had an excess supply of 338 MW out of an available supply of 1738 MW and peak demand of 1400 MW, based on the daily monitoring of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP). — (FREEMAN)

ABOITIZ ABOITIZ POWER AQUINO DAVAO CITY DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY ELECTRIC POWER INDUSTRY REFORM ACT ENERGY INDUSTRY MANAGEMENT DIVISION ERRAMON I NATIONAL GRID CORPORATION OF THE PHILIPPINES POWER VISAYAS
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