Senate urges DOE to explain lack of power supply

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 2, 2021   •   424

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate on Wednesday urged the Department of Energy (DOE) to explain the lack of power supply and why it has not projected power outages.

Senate Committee on Energy Senator Sherwin Gatchalian noted that the DOE previously stated there will not be any shortage in power supply.

“Sa harap ng publiko sa isang pagdinig ng Senate Energy Committee noong nakaraang buwan, nagbitiw ng salita ang DOE na wala silang nakikitang posibilidad na magkakaroon ng kakulangan sa suplay ng kuryente. Kailangang magpaliwanag ang ahensiya kung bakit nangyayari itong yellow alert at red alert,” he said.

(During a hearing with the Senate Energy Committee last month, the DOE said they do not see any possibility that there will be a shortage in power supply. The agency needs to explain why there is now a yellow and red alert.)

Gatchalian reiterated the importance of power supply especially during the coronavirus disease vaccine rollout.

“Just as when the vaccine rollout is now in full swing, the country cannot afford, even for a few minutes, any power interruption as this could have significant implications for vaccine storage,” he said.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines this week announced that several areas in the country, including the Luzon Grid, are under yellow or red alert. Households are also experiencing rotational brownouts. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

Energy chief Cusi questions NGCP warning on possible low supply during hotter months

Robie de Guzman   •   January 21, 2022

Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi has asked the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to present the steps it has taken following its warning of possible brownouts during the dry season.

In a statement, Cusi questioned the NGCP’s warning when it should be ensuring adequate power supply to address this “annual occurrence.”

“Increased demand for power during our hotter months, and reduced supply during these same dry months is an annual occurrence, and as System Operator and Grid Operator, the NGCP is very much aware of this cycle,” he said.

“So, what is NGCP doing about it?” he asked.

It can be recalled that on Tuesday, the NGCP issued a warning about the possibility of a thin energy supply during the months of April to June due to increase in demand.

The grid operator also appealed to policymakers to immediately explore demand-side management strategies to alleviate possible power supply issues, especially at or around the time of the national and local elections in May.

Cusi said the DOE is “spearheading efforts to bring the power industry together to work toward a wholistic solution.”

“The NGCP is expected to perform their responsibilities that contribute to the adequacy of supply, and more so this year as we will be holding national elections this summer,” he added.

The Energy chief said the department is “very interested to hear from them about the steps they have taken, or are taking, to address the situation, particularly in preventing the occurrence of a power interruption.”

He also asked the NGCP if it has ensured the following:

  • That all capacities at all power stations are available;
  • That all available capacities are connected;
  • That all congestion issues are addressed;
  • That the Grid Operating Maintenance Program (GOMP) was thoroughly planned;
  • That reserves are contracted from a separate pool of capacity for ancillary services which we can tap in cases of emergency.

“I have already instructed our Power Bureau to look into these matters,” Cusi said.

NGCP warns of possible thin power supply this summer

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2022

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) on Tuesday warned about the possibility of a thin energy supply during the dry season due to high demand.

In a statement, the NCGP said the Department of Energy (DOE) forecast total peak demand of 12,387 MegaWatts (MW) for Luzon to occur in the last week of May, or a 747MW increase from the actual 2021 peak load of 11,640MW which occurred on May 28, 2021.

“Thin operating margins (power in excess of demand, which is used to manage and balance the grid) is forecasted in the Luzon grid from April to June due to increase in demand during the summer, which includes the critical election period,” the power transmission operator said.

For the Visayas, the NGCP said the actual peak demand occurred on December 13, 2021 at 2,252 MW, lower than the projected peak demand at 2,528MW.

For Mindanao, the forecast peak demand is at 2,223MW, higher than the actual peak demand at 2,144 MW recorded on August 4, 2021.

The NGCP said it coordinates the preparation and submission to the DOE of an annual Grid Operating and Maintenance Program (GOMP), which is the consolidated preventive maintenance schedules of power plants, considering the needed supply to meet the projected demand. The 2022 GOMP was approved by the DOE on 10 January 2022.

In compliance with the directive of the DOE, the grid operator said no maintenance shutdowns were scheduled during the summer months.

“NGCP, in compliance with its mandate, coordinated with the generation and distribution sectors so that we could optimize and rationalize our own maintenance schedules, to ensure sufficiency, at least on paper, of power supply throughout the year,” the company said.

However, as early as January, some generating units extended their maintenance shutdowns while others derated to decrease their committed generation output.

As a result, yellow alerts were issued on January 10 and 11, the NGCP said.

A yellow alert is issued when the excess power is insufficient to meet the transmission grid’s regulating and contingency requirement, pegged at the time at about 495MW and 647MW respectively.

“On paper, there appears to be sufficient supply to meet demand; but the plan on paper, the GOMP, is not always followed. It is when there are unscheduled shutdowns and derations, and extensions of maintenance duration, that grid operations may be disrupted enough to warrant the issuance of a grid alert status,” the NGCP said.

“As the transmission service provider, NGCP can only give an overview of the current supply and demand situation, and endeavor to dispatch any and all available grid resources. It cannot intervene on matters concerning power generation,” it added.

A red alert status is issued when supplies are insufficient to meet consumer demand and the transmission grid’s regulating requirement.

Red alerts were issued over the Luzon Grid on 31 May and 01-02 June 2021 when a similar round of extended and unplanned maintenance shutdowns and derations occurred, depleting excess supplies and leading to rotational power interruptions implemented across the entire Luzon.

To alleviate possible power shortages, NGCP appeals to policymakers to immediately explore demand-side management strategies to mitigate any possible power supply issues in the coming summer months, especially at or around the time of the national and local elections in May.

DOE exploring mangrove’s potential in managing carbon dioxide emissions

Robie de Guzman   •   December 2, 2021


MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Energy (DOE) on Thursday said it is looking into the potential of mangrove sequestration in managing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal-fire power plants as part of the Philippines’ commitment to successfully realize the energy transition without sacrificing energy security.

In a statement, the DOE said Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has issued a memorandum directing the Energy Policy and Planning Bureau to examine existing studies, or submit its own study on the “possibility of putting up mangroves for CO2 emission reduction from coal-fired power plants”; and seek technical assistance from development partners for such a study.

“The study, if proven, could help the Philippines in fulfilling the CO2 requirements without sacrificing our goal to achieve energy security given our energy-neutral portfolio,” Cusi said in his memo dated November 24.

With the global community racing to find ways to curb the adverse impact of climate change on the planet, the DOE said mangroves continue to gain scientific interest due to their ability to stockpile significant amounts of carbon in their wood and soil, instead of releasing it back into the atmosphere.

“We recognize the need to attain our energy security in a sustainable manner,” Cusi said.

“However, while there still is a percentage of our power needs that is being provided by coal, we should actively explore the potential of out-of-the-box solutions that could reduce the harmful greenhouse gas emissions of coal plants,” he added.

The Philippines has earlier urged the international community to start implementing actions on the fulfillment of the nations’ commitments and obligations to humanity to save the planet from environmental catastrophe.


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