POWER DEMAND in 2019 is expected to peak at 11.2 gigawatts (GW) in Luzon, nearly 4% higher than the 10.8 GW for 2018, an increase that the Energy department attributed to the “normal growth” in the energy requirement due to greater economic activity.
“Supply will be a bit tight next year,” Department of Energy (DoE) Assistant Secretary Redentor E. Delola told reporters last week, referring to available power supply against demand.
“Demand will be high, and the reserves will be just enough given the scheduled maintenance. We don’t expect any red alerts, just yellow at the worst,” he added.
The increase in demand includes a 300-megawatt (MW) “spot load” or an additional requirement that will stay steady up to next year. That spot load prompted the DoE to adjust its forecast for 2018 to 10.8 GW — or 10,800 MW — from the 10.561 GW it previously expected.
Mr. Delola said the DoE is ensuring that the system has enough capacity to meet the regulating reserve, or the energy required to meet frequency fluctuations, while having sufficient standby power equivalent to the capacity of the biggest operating power plant.
He added that the department was also making sure that there is secondary standby power equivalent to the capacity of the second-largest power plant to avoid power interruptions should the two biggest power sources falter.
To meet the higher power demand, two power plants in Luzon are expected to come online next year with a combined capacity of about 600 MW, he said.
Next year’s expected peak demand will happen at a time when the government has bid out to the private sector the 600-MW Malaya thermal plant in Pililla, Rizal, which operates as a “must-run” plant.
Before its privatization, the Malaya plant is compelled to run and provide the needed power as deemed necessary to ensure reliability of supply in the Luzon grid, especially in times of power shortfall, and to provide a measure of system security and voltage support.
The winning bidder for the plant is not compelled to operate it as a must-run unit, Mr. Delola said. Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. previously said that Soosan ENS Co., Ltd. was the as lone bidder for the plant.
In Mindanao, peak demand is expected at around 2.2 GW, up 10% from the expected 2 GW this year. It is also expected to register the biggest growth in power demand.
“We have 700 MW coming in between now and next year,” Mr. Delola said, adding that the southern island is expected to have excess capacity of 1.4 GW in 2019.
“In the Visayas we are a bit tight so we need the Luzon-Visayas interconnection,” he said.
He said the two island groups experience peak power demand at different times of the day, thus power supply can be exported to each other at times when they require it the most. Peak demand in the Visayas is expected at 2.3 GW, up 9.5% from this year. — Victor V. Saulon