THE Department of Energy (DoE) said Tuesday that the Luzon grid will have enough reserve power tomorrow as it expects the Malampaya gas-to-power project, which fuels the country’s gas-fired power plants, to complete its maintenance shutdown.

“We don’t see any yellow alert status for tomorrow because of the additional 1,620 MW [megawatts] from the natural gas plants,” Energy Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentebella told reporters.

He said the DoE expects Malampaya’s maintenance to have been completed Tuesday. He said once gas supply is available, the Ilijan plant’s blocks A and B, with a combined capacity of 1,200 MW, and the 420-MW San Gabriel plant will be back in operation on Wednesday.

For the Sual plant’s unit 1, Mr. Fuentebella said: “as per their report yesterday, they are targeting to complete the repair and ‘washing’ of turbine by 21 or 22 Oct. 2019.”

He said the preventive maintenance shutdown of Sual’s unit 2, which was originally scheduled to start on Oct. 19 and end on Nov. 17, will be moved until unit 1 is available and stable.

Luzon’s thinning power reserve is one of several issues that the DoE had to face recently after Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi returned from Russia for the visit of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

On Monday, Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian filed a resolution for the Senate energy committee to hold an inquiry on the status of the agency’s Nuclear Energy Program Implementing Organization (NEPIO), including its recommendation for the country to embark on a nuclear power program.

“A comprehensive, transparent, and public discussion must be made on the merits of a national nuclear program taking into consideration the social, economic, environmental, and technical effects and requirements of such a program,” he said.

Mr. Cusi said he signed a memorandum of intent in Moscow during the President’s visit earlier this month.

“It is the intent of Russia, Rosatom (Russian State Atomic Energy Corp.) in particular, to study adapting a small modular reactor for the country,” he said.

He said the signing was a follow-up of Mr. Duterte’s visit to Russia in 2017 when the two parties signed a cooperation agreement with the Russian ministry of energy to study how they can collaborate in various technologies, including setting policy.

Mr. Cusi said Friday that the Cabinet discussed the nuclear issue until almost 2 a.m., and that the discussions were “alive, passionate, intelligent.”

“I justified why we need nuclear,” he said, adding that all the issues faced by the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant “had been answered by time.” He said the plant had been “demonized, politicized” when it could have changed the country’s economic landscape. — Victor V. Saulon