Blackouts imminent power reserve now runs low in Visayas
Angeline Valencia (The Freeman) - May 25, 2014 - 12:00am

TAGBILARAN CITY, Philippines — Summer heat drained the power reserve from the Visayas grid and Bohol allocation dropped to a deficiency of 3 megawatts on Friday, while a power interruption-possibly a blackout in the province is expected by June.

The power reserve for Bohol recovered a bit yesterday at 1 MW and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines projected it to remain as such until tomorrow, Monday, then an improvement to 2 MW by Tuesday and Wednesday.  NGCP,  however, expected it to drop to 1 MW by Thursday.

NGCP Information Officer Maria Rosette Martinez explained that "when possible, both Luzon and Visayas grids will import and export from each other, depending on which of the grids has the supply at a time." She said, "It's the role of  NGCP to balance or keep the balance of the grids." At present, only the Visayas and Luzon have interconnection, she added.

Bohol is feared to be affected by the inevitable shortage of power supply as the NGCP once placed the Visayas grid on red alert due to zero reserve electricity about a week ago. Luzon grid had also been placed on red alert last week, days prior to the Visayas.

Visayas ran at low of reserve power as the projected peak demand surpassed the projected system capacity. On May 19, the Visayas grid had a projected system capacity of 1,498 megawatts, but the expected peak demand showed to be greater at 1,569 MW.

Power deficiency again affected Visayas grid in the afternoon of May 21 when the system peak hit 1,550 MW against its capacity of 1,515 MW. By then Visayas exported 50 MW from the Luzon power reserves. The problem occurred as three power plants in the Visayas — one in Cebu, another in Iloilo and another one in Leyte — went offline. Bohol at present is dependent on the Visayas grid for its 60 MW requirement.

Visayas had to tap Luzon grid, although the Department of Energy expected the power supply to stabilize this week " once the Unit 1 of the 246-MW coal plant of the Cebu Energy Development Corp. in Toledo City gets back on line.

The coal plant shut down on May 16. By May 21, "only Unit 2 of the 164-MW coal plant of  Panay Energy Development Corp.  in Iloilo and the 36-MW unit of the Tongonan Geothermal Power Plant in Leyte were on line," according to reports. Even the Tongonan plant had been unstable—going on and off line last week.

On this, the NGCP requested electric cooperatives to implement load shedding of 15 to 20 minutes at a time. The NGCP weekly outlook for Bohol showed that there would be a daily supply from diesel plants of 15 MW, and 3 MW from hydropower facilities from May 24 to 29.

Supply to be imported from Leyte will be 42 MW yesterday, 45 MW today, 38 MW on Monday, 43 MW on Tuesday, 43 MW on Wednesday and 42 MW on Thursday. The system load was 59 MW yesterday, 62 MW today, 55MW on Monday, and 59MW daily from Tuesday to Thursday.

As of  March 24, NGCP record showed that Visayas gets 49.59 percent of the power supply from geothermal plants, 38.21 percent from coal plants, 11.93 percent from diesel plants and 0.26 percent from hydropower plants.

Luzon grid has more sources, 49.85 percent of which from coal plants, 33.38 percent from comb cycle/natural gas, 6.96 percent from geothermal plants, 4.62 percent from hydro-power plants, 3.11 percent from diesel plants, 1.96 percent from thermal plants and 0.13 percent from renewable energy biodiesel plants,

Mindanao only has four types of generation plants: Coal plants that produces 10.28 percent of supply, diesel that contributes 32.87 percent, geothermal that produces 9.3 percent, and hydropower that gives 47.54 percent. (FREEMAN)

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