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Walk the Talk


I can’t imagine going through another rotational blackout as the City had experienced last year. There was a warning sent out anew by the Department of Energy on a possible power supply shortages in Mindanao next year. The precaution made is that the required power reserve level in the island remained precariously low at only 100 megawatts during peak hours.

Although the City has just recently approved of the Coal Fire Power Plant which is a long term solution to the problem, though many issues has yet to be answered to this kind of Power to be used for the City and the issue of Environmental Impact is yet to be discussed and be consulted to the public, I am still somehow struggling to comprehend as to what should the City do to address this issue.

With the warning set out by the DOE, what is the solution of the City Government in order to address this short term problem?

Energy Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras admitted that the Mindanao power supply situation was “very challenging” given that the reserve margin continued to be below the minimum 21 percent.

This means that although the existing power supply can address the present demand, the Mindanao grid does not have sufficient reserves that can be tapped should a power plant or unit break down.

The issue is when La Niña would come in which as of the moment, the reserve level of the Mindanao grid is not at a comfortable level.  Especially that the United Nations warned the public on the possible 4 degrees increase to our temperature due to the melting of Glaciers in the Himalayas and of  the Global Warming.

Currently, Mindanao sources more than half of its electricity requirements from hydropower plants, with the Agus-Pulangi complex providing over 700 MW.

Due to its heavy reliance on this particular source, Mindanao had been the most adversely affected by the prolonged drought in 2010 as the reduced water levels at the dams drastically cut power-generating capacities to less than 10 percent.

Among the measures that the DoE wanted to implement included the transfer of power barges 101 to 103 to Mindanao to help shore up capacity. Each of the power barge can generate 32 MW.

DOE is now asking the state-owned Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. whether it would be more feasible to sell these power barges and then require the buyers to transfer the facilities to Mindanao. But somehow they are still looking for an alternative. They are also expecting the 35-MW Iligan diesel power plant to be recommissioned in a few months’ time.

As the government is further “enticing” investors to put up the needed baseload facilities to help secure the power supply in Mindanao.

By Ronnie A. Natividad

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