DEMAND for power in Mindanao has grown significantly in the past five to six years, with the current power reserves considered adequate to support new investment in the main southern island, an official with Alsons Consolidated Resources, Inc. said.
“Mindanao is now blessed with adequate capacity. We have enough reserves and I think this bodes well for the entry of more investments into Mindanao. And we’ve seen this in some of the places where we operate,” Joseph C. Nocos, vice-president for business development at Alson’s power group, told reporters.
The company is Mindanao’s first and most experienced independent power producer. It currently operates four power facilities on the island with a total generating capacity of 363 megawatts (MW) serving Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Iligan, General Santos and Zamboanga.
“In General Santos the peak demand for power has grown from 105 MW in 2011 to roughly around 160 MW [in 2018]. So that’s a 50 to 55-MW increase over the last seven years, which is really a testament to the strong growth of power demand in Mindanao,” Mr. Nocos said.
“The same is true in Zamboanga City where five years ago the peak demand was something like 85 to 90 MW. Today Zamboanga is peaking at around 120 MW,” he added.
Alsons is also entering the renewable energy market through run-of-river hydroelectric power projects with a total potential capacity of more than 145 MW in Negros Occidental, Sarangani, Davao Oriental, Zamboanga del Norte, the two Agusan provinces, and Surigao del Sur.
For now, demand for power comes mostly from the commercial sector, Mr. Nocos said although the company expects the industrial sector to further boost the island’s energy requirement.
“One of these places is Cagayan de Oro where there’s at least one steel plant that is expected to come into operation within the next couple of years. This should drive the demand for power some more in Cagayan de Oro,” he said.
“So in key cities like GenSan, Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Davao and also in the smaller cities like Butuan and Iligan, we’ve seen the demand for electricity peaking up, especially with the entry of the new capacities,” Mr. Nocos added.
Based on data from the Department of Energy (DoE), the Mindanao grid has a total installed capacity of 3,747 MW. In the first half of last year, a total of 202.4 MW was added to the Mindanao grid.
From 2018 to 2019, the southern island’s grid is expected to have a total additional capacity of around 868 MW from committed projects.
“Especially with the government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ program, we expect that more investments will come into Mindanao and the adequate supply of power in Mindanao will help support this growth initiative of the government,” Mr. Nocos said.
DoE Assistant Secretary Redentor E. Delola has said that Mindanao’s peak demand could hit 2,200 MW in 2019, or up 10% compared with the 2,000 MW in 2018. It is also forecast to register the biggest growth in power demand.
The island is expected to have excess capacity of 1,400 MW in 2019, he added. — Victor V. Saulon