Exec: More coal-fired power plants needed in Mindanao

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Sunday, January 19, 2014


FOR a more sufficient power supply, Mindanao will need more coal-fired power plants as a source of baseload in order to make the energy supply in the island reliable and stable, an executive of Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) said.

DLPC executive vice president Arturo M. Milan said since Mindanao is heavily dependent on hydropower, what it really needs now is a base load power plant which can run 24/7, and the best option will be coal-fired power plants.

"An example of a base load plant is a coal plant which will have the capacity to run 24/7 as long as you have the supply of coal," he said, adding that coal, by far, will be the best baseload capacity that Mindanao can have at a very relatively competitive price.

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Banking on coal-fired power plants, he said the base load of Mindanao will be less likely affected by weather, unlike the hyrdopower, which goes down as the water level decreases on summer months.

"We didnt experience the effects of hydropower in terms of supply before because we used tove have an excess capacity. But now that demand has grown so much with the development all over the island, hydro power can no lnger be run as a baseload, in fact it is an intermediate load," he said.

Department of Energy Sec. Carlos Jericho L. Petilla, in a presentation during the Mindanao Business Conference last August 2013, said hydropower supplies 826 megawatts (MW) to 1,614 MW of dependable capacities in Mindanao as of May last year.

Manuel M. Orig, AboitizPower Corp. first vice president for Mindanao Affairs, said Mindanao has no choice but to face the reality that in order to solve its power crisis, it should welcome other investors who will put up power plants aside from hydropower sources.

"Before, if you come in with new power plant investment and it is not hydropower, you cannot compete with them because of their lower rates. That is why in the past years there has been no major power plant investment in Mindanao because investors can't compete with the rates of hydropower, he said.

Based on Petilla's presentation, some of the non-hydro power plants that will be entering Mindanao by 2015 are Therma South Inc.'s 300 MW coal-fired Therma South Energy Project and Sarangani Energy Corporation's 200 MW Southern Mindanao Coal Fired Power Station.

"You have to strategize the supply mix to supply reliable power to the customers and that will depend on your mix of base, peaking, and intermediate loads," Milan said.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 20, 2014.

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