THE independent market operator that runs the spot market for electricity said no major power plants will become operational beyond June, when a unit of a Bataan generating facility goes live.

“Power demand will continuously grow, whether accelerated or tempered, and the supply should increase with it,” Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) Chief Operating Officer Robinson P. Descanzo said at a virtual briefing Friday.

He was referring to GN Power Dinginin Ltd. Co’s 668-megawatt (MW) Coal-Fired Power Plant Unit 2 in Mariveles, which is set to operate in June.

IEMOP is projecting 929.5 MW of additional capacity in Luzon, 34.67MW in the Visayas, and 143.60 MW in Mindanao. Currently, Luzon’s registered capacity is 17,448 MW, Visayas 3,651, and Mindanao 4,231, according to the power plants’ data submissions to the Philippine Electricity Market Corp.

Dinginin Unit 2 is the largest plant coming into service, followed by the coal-fired 150MW Unit 1 of SMC Global Power Holdings Corp., also in Mariveles and also operational in June.

“This is a bit problematic. We are caught in the middle as coal-fired power plants are being stopped. In fact, these coal developers, our big players… are already rethinking their options and removing coal from their portfolios,” Mr. Decanzo said.

The Department of Energy (DoE) has frozen approvals for new coal-fired projects in order to help the Philippines meet its emissions targets, but allowed pending projects to proceed.

Mr. Descanzo added that many projects powered by solar, biomass, wind, and battery energy storage systems (BESS) energies are still awaiting commissioning.

“That’s why we are really banking on the availability of our existing power plants during summer,” he added.

The market operator expects Luzon demand to peak in the last week of May, increasing by 786 MW from last year’s high. The Visayas peak is expected to jump by 342 MW; and the Mindanao peak to rise by 127MW. It was citing the Energy department’s Philippine Energy Plan projections and last year’s load data.

The DoE projects Luzon peak demand of 12,387 MW, Visayas at 2,528 MW, and Mindanao 2,223 MW this year. – Marielle C. Lucenio