THE electricity peak demand of Mindanao has reached its highest yet in five years at 1,760 megawatts (MW) last Tuesday, December 5.
As compared to the highest peak demand of Mindanao back 2012, which was only at around 1,210 MW, Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) Deputy Executive Director assistant secretary Romeo Montenegro said Mindanao used to have frequent rotational brownouts five years ago.
“Increased investment, increased growth of the infrastructure, proliferation of industries definitely will result to increase demand in energy,” he said adding that every hotel, establishment, mall, or towers require about 5MW to 7MW of power to operate. With the number of similar establishments that had been built in Mindanao over the span of five years, it is understandable how the power demand has also increased as well.
Montenegro also said over the course of five years, the electricity demand in the island has also increased by about 510MW. He added the power supply in Mindanao may still increase by 1,000MW by early next year as more large powerplants, which are nearing completion, will have been commissioned online and will have been starting contributing power to the grid.
“This is exactly the kind of situation we wanted to see in Mindanao where our electricity supply is very much able and capable of delivering power when we need them the most, and able to address surging demand in many of the industries in construction and all other sectors,” he added.
Manageable excess supply
Currently, Mindanao’s power supply is at a “comfortable” level, however, Montenegro said a combination of different technologies is needed in the island to ensure the kind of energy mix that is ideal for power delivery to the different industries and to the households.
“Having all these technologies come with a cost especially that a significant amount of our energy supply comes from coal which is 100 percent imported and subject for market volatility and foreign exchange fluctuations,” Montenegro said adding that because of the capacity fee incorporated in the price structure, there is an additional electricity cost but assured that this is just a price to be paid for having this kind of electricity make up.
He further emphasized that the excess supply of Mindanao today should only be kept way up to five years so that previous scenario of demand outstripping supply will not happen again.
“We don’t want a picture where we have too much of excess that is not necessarily needed. We just wanted to have an excess level that is able to address immediate growth demand of our economy. The kind of excess we have today are actually at manageable level,” he said.
“We also note that at the rate that our ecomonmy is growing, the excess that we have today of 600MW will be gone in five years time or less just as in the last five years, we managed to grow our demand in Mindanao by more than 500MW,” added Montenegro.