The Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) is calling on investors to develop more renewable energy sources (REs) as early as 2024 to avoid power shortage in Mindanao.
Minda Executive Director Romeo Montenegro said this year to 2024 is the ideal period of building power plants for Mindanao not to experience the same power situation in 2012 to 2015.
“The Department of Energy (DOE) [must] make sure the right signals are sent to proponents for building of new power plants starting 2024 or 2025 or earlier kasi a power plant needs three to five years [to complete]. Now, if sa 2025 pa tayo magiimbita magtayo ng planta, matatapos ang planta nila by 2028 or 2030, definitely by 2028 brownout na naman tayo kasi kinapos na tayo,” he said.
(If we have to wait for 2028 to 2030 for power plants to be completed, we might experience brownouts because we are already short of power supply by 2028.)
“There has to be a proper timing of when investors would want to come in to invest in new power plants or expand existing ones so that the demand in Mindanao is well compensated with the supply,” he added.
Montenegro said with the 6.2 percent average growth rate of Mindanao’s Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) in 2010 to 2019, it will equate to a seven to eight percent projected annual power demand in the next three to five years.
“Three years or five years from now, if we see continuing rise of condominiums in Davao, malls in many areas in Mindanao, expansion of the industries and manufacturing, putting up of steel mill and other ecozones in many areas in Mindanao, all of these are energy- and electricity-hungry,” he said.
As of January 15, Mindanao has a system capacity of 2,772 megawatts and a 925-megawatt reserve, according to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).
Montenegro also urged for more renewable energy to be put up in the region especially the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) is on the process in Mindanao.
He said uncontracted power supplies from REs are dispatched in WESM first since it is cleaner and cheaper. He added this system should be taken advantage of by power companies.
He said the presence of REs in the energy mix provides cheaper options for the public and other players.
“We don’t want to be continually heavily dependent on fossil technology which is imported from abroad, subject for foreign exchange fluctuations and market volatility and the resulting effect of that kind of reliance is expensive or costly electricity rates as compared to power supply derived from our own sources such as hydro,” he said.
Montenegro emphasized that the balance of energy mix will continue to be a major determining factor in terms of pushing for what kind of investment will have to be promoted, facilitated, and accelerated in terms of power generation in Mindanao.