Petilla open to coal plant in Bataan nuclear facility

By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 07 2014 06:01 PM | Updated as of Jul 08 2014 08:12 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said he will endorse the construction of a coal-fired power plant inside the Bataan nuclear power plant facility, as long as it is within safe distance from the mothballed nuclear facility.

According to Petilla, before dwelling on the technical aspects, the Department of Energy (DOE) will first consult with local stakeholders like the local government officials and community.

"Pag ‘di natin tinayo, wala tayong dagdag kuryente. OK naman kung may wind, solar and other renewable pero mahal naman sila. Lahat naman ng sources, may problema," said Petilla.

Petilla said the DOE will help the proponent get the necessary environmental permits but it will only assist and it’s up to them to get the clearances.

Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) is proposing to build a 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant within the Bataan nuclear power facility.

The DOE's endorsement is needed before the Department of Finance, which owns the Bataan nuclear property, decides on whether it will enter into a long-term lease contract or purchase agreement with the coal plant builder.

ILIJAN power shutdown

Meanwhile, the Ilijan power plant will undergo "pigging" or maintenance of its pipelines on July 12 and 13 that will shave off 1,200 megawatts of power from the grid for several hours.

But Petilla doesn’t see the Luzon grid plunging into yellow alert of thin electricity reserve since those days fall on a weekend, when demand is usually low.

However, if some plants suddenly bog down, the situation will lead to a yellow alert, or worse a red alert, which can cause power interruptions.

Fuel price rollback

Meanwhile, price movement on fuel is within the range of computation of the DOE, according to Petilla.

"I'm always happy when there's a rollback but it has nothing to do with me. The same with price spikes, it has to do with market forces," he said.

On gasoline, while there is also a supposed small upward adjustment based on computation, Petilla said it's too small for the oil companies to adjust prices.

Petilla though admits it may be carried over the next round of fuel price adjustments.