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DoE energy mix tweak may see drop in baseload share

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PHILSTAR

THE Department of Energy (DoE) is once again modifying its energy mix policy to reflect what the power distribution system needs, which initial assessment shows baseload plants to account for 55-56% and not the 70% earlier set by the department.

“Is it really 70% in terms of baseload? It appears it’s not. It’s 55, 56%,” Mario C. Marasigan, director of the DoE’s electric power industry management bureau, told reporters when asked about an update on the department’s energy supply and demand outlook.

The final energy mix, which broadly guides the private sector on the type of power plants to build, will be ready once the power utilities have submitted their distribution development plans, he said.

At present, the DoE’s energy mix, which was set when Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi took over in 2016, is 70% baseload or power plants that remain online for an extended period, 30% mid-merit or those that can easily be switched on and off, and 10% peaking, which are mostly diesel-fired power plants.




“Our outlook is still 70-20-10, that’s why we’re changing it,” Mr. Marasigan said.

He said next to baseload power plants, the next biggest share is from mid-merit plants, which are switched on as demand starts to rise when offices and malls open.

Peaking plants account for the smallest share considering the peak power demand is shorter — about two hours in Metro Manila when electricity use spikes in the afternoon and early evening.

He said rounded figures would give an energy mix of 60-30-10 for baseload, mid-merit and peaking, respectively, or 55-35-10, depending on the final submissions of the distribution utilities’ outlook.

Mr. Marasigan said in terms of the technology used by the power plants, baseload plants are largely coal, geothermal, biomass, natural gas and some hydroelectric plants. The facilities that provide the country’s mid-merit power demand are natural gas-fired, diesel and impounding hydropower plants.

He said renewable energy sources such as solar and wind are generally mid-merit and peaking plants but their output is dispatched first as called for by the country’s feed-in-tariff system that encourages their development. This sometimes results in the output of the other plants to be curtailed to give priority to renewables in the electricity spot market. — Victor V. Saulon