Mindanao power deficiency to reach 484 MW in 2014, says firm exec

Subscribe Now April 09, 2013 at 08:13pm

If the power deficiency in Mindanao continues to widen, it could result in at least five major cities' being deprived of electricity, according to a top official of Aboitiz Power, one of the country’s largest producers of renewable energy.

The cities are Davao and General Santos in Southern Mindanao, Butuan and Cagayan de Oro in Northern Mindanao, and Zamboanga in West Mindanao, said AboitizPower first vice president for Mindanao Affairs Bobby Orig.

Orig, citing data, said the gap between demand and supply of power in Mindanao could reach 484 megawatts (MW) in 2014.

“Over the years, the gap between demand and supply is worsening. By 2014, the gap is expected to reach 484 MW. What is the significance of this 484 MW? It means you are depriving power supply to five major cities in Mindanao. That’s how bad the power situation is,” said Orig.

“Since 2009, there are no new power plants being constructed. The hydro-power plants in Mindanao are aging and their capacities decline during summer months,” said Wilfredo Rodolfo, AboitizPower’s branding and communications manager for Mindanao.

Though the worsening situation is being addressed by several players, including AboitizPower, “this is not enough to fill the gap,” Rodolfo stressed.

By early 2014, Hedcor, Inc.'s Tudaya hydropower project consisting of two run-of-river type plants in Baroring and Sibulan Rivers in the municipality of Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur could contribute at least 14 MW.

AboitizPower subsidiary Therma South, Inc.'s (TSI) coal-fired power generation facility being constructed in Toril district, Davao City will help augment the region's power supply by at least 300 MW. Based on the time table, the construction is set to be completed in the second quarter of 2015.

“Unless big base load power stations are constructed, like the coal plants, these brownouts will continue and would worsen until 2014,” said Orig in an interview.

The company is currently concentrating on hydro and geothermal power production as renewable energy sources and coal as a non-renewable source “because they are affordable.”

Orig said AboitizPower sells its coal at P5.50 per kilowatt-hour.

“Our position is that, let’s generate as much energy from these sources, provided the effect on electricity rates would not be prohibitive for customers,” Orig said.

Even before the coal plants begin operations in mid-2015, at least 14 electric cooperatives and power distribution utilities in Mindanao have signed a contract with TSI to secure their supply. — Malu Cadeliña Manar/BM, GMA News

Source: gmanetwork.com

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