DOE: Luzon grid to need 1,500 MW of power by 2017

By Paul Anthony A. Isla, BusinessMirror

Posted at Apr 19 2012 07:40 AM | Updated as of Apr 19 2012 03:40 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Luzon grid must have not less than 1,500 megawatts of new generating capacity by 2017, Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras told reporters on Wednesday.

At the sidelines of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines’s general membership meeting, Almendras also made it clear that he has yet to talk to any proponent and that he brought the matter up because it was ideal to look into it now considering the gestation period of building such power plants.

Almendras said the Luzon grid has enough generating capacity and is expected to have additional generation capacity by the end of the year.

Almendras said the 600 MW of GN Power is expected to come online by year-end and that RP Energy’s 600 MW is expected to come online by 2015.

Almendras said they are also looking at the Masinloc, Calaca and Sual expansion programs.

“When the 1,500 MW comes in by 2017, then we’re assured of stable supply. And at least, the next government will have enough capacity and will just look for the power requirements of 2019 and beyond. I’m not in talks with anyone, but I’m encouraging power generators to look into the 2017 generation requirements,” Almendras said.

The energy chief earlier allayed fears of power shortage in the Luzon and Visayas grids.

He said the Luzon grid has enough reserve capacity, while the Visayas grid has an average of 300 MW to 500 MW in reserve capacity.

For Luzon, he also noted that there is a new 600-MW coal-fired power plant coming toward the end of the year.

“We should have enough power next year and up to 2014. We are saying we need another power plant by 2015, fortunately there are a lot of investors willing to put up power plants in Luzon,” he added.

In the Visayas, he also noted that the margins should be good up to 2015, although the growth of consumption in the Visayas is very strong and as early as now there are already proponents planning to put up power plants.

Almendras said there are ongoing discussions and the only challenge will be securing local government units’ approvals and permits.

“We continue to work and help with the proponents in securing the permits and clearances to allow them to put up the power plant. If the 300 MW and the other 300 MW are put up, that should take care of our 2015 and 2016 power needs. We continue to work with power generating companies who want to grow or expand their portfolios, and there are projects that have already been identified for 2016 and beyond,” Almendras said.