THE Department of Energy (DoE) said red and yellow alerts are likely on the grid in early 2023, under a scenario that assumes the loss of the output of a key power plant in Batangas City.

In a virtual briefing, Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla said during a forum organized by the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines that the power outlook in 2023 is looking “difficult” if the Ilijan gas-fired plant does not operate following the end of its Malampaya gas supply deal.

“But for 2023, the situation is a bit difficult, especially in the summer months. This scenario again assumes that the Ilijan will not be available,” Mr. Lotilla said.

The 1,200-megawatt Ilijan plant is due to start using imported gas after the end of its Malampaya supply deal. Plant operator San Miguel Corp. has said that a liquefied natural gas terminal from which Ilijan plans to tap fuel will be operational by February.

Mr. Lotilla said that conditions in 2023, especially in the dry season, make yellow and red alerts likely.

The DoE, in its presentation, forecast 17 yellow alerts and three red alerts. The red alerts are expected in May and June.

“Capacity usually falls in May and June because of the hydros in Luzon are unavailable to deliver at this particular point,” Mr. Lotilla said.

Yellow alerts are issued when reserves fall below a designated safety margin. Red alerts are issued when the supply-demand balance worsens further, signaling the possibility of rotational brownouts.

Mr. Lotilla said that the department is now addressing the transmission bottlenecks which are keeping about 474 megawatts of stranded capacity from power plants in Bataan from reaching Metro Manila.

“We are now working with the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines to ensure the timely completion of transmission projects,” Mr. Lotilla said.

He said that the NGCP hopes to complete the transmission projects by year’s end.

“Some additional solar power plants will become operational (and be) available in the first quarter,” he added.

The DoE is also working to facilitate the resolution of right of way disputes affecting some projects. — Ashley Erika O. Jose