(Taguig City) The Department of Energy (DOE) stresses that there are available generation capacities in Mindanao that are not being utilized because it is not being contracted or dispatched as nominated. Thus the DOE urges the electric cooperatives and distribution utilities to cooperate amidst the power situation in the region and strictly withdraw power according to their contract.
With that, the DOE will be issuing a Circular within the week which will rationalize the power supply system in Mindanao to give relief to the people in the region. The Circular includes measures such as the dispatch of available embedded generating capacities of some big firms in Mindanao to help solve the frequent red alerts in the region and limiting the required reserve margin of the transmission system to be able to provide the maximum amount of power to the grid.
However, all these are just temporary measures that the DOE is looking at while committed and indicative capacities in Mindanao have yet to materialize. As the DOE stresses in its meeting with Mindanao legislators last week, the real solution in Mindanao is the installation of baseload generation that will give the region supply reliability and affordability as its demand also grows. This will only happen if contracts are closed, otherwise no investor will risk a project.
As of this time, the only committed baseload generation facilities for Mindanao are 200 MW from a coal fired plant and 50 MW of power from a geothermal plant that will be online in 2014. This is on top of the indicative projects with an aggregate capacity of 500 MW of power from coal fired plants also targeted to go online the same year.
Alongside this long term solution, Mindanao will also avoid power outages if power distributors are withdrawing and contracting properly from power generators.
To address the issue of cost, the DOE notes that different power technologies entail different pricings depending on the fuel used in generating power. The power cost, if contracted from the power barges, is still subject to the evaluation of the Energy Regulatory Commission which is an independent body and has the sole authority to regulate and rule on power rates.
Rest assured that the DOE continues to attract investors to look into the Mindanao power portfolio while consumers are also urged to extend their utmost cooperation with the government in solving this situation.