DOE says Ilijan plant to stabilize Luzon power supply


Posted at May 10 2023 12:53 PM

 The new LNG Terminal is built near the 1,200-MW Ilijan plant and the 1,313MW Batangas Combined Cycle Gas Plant. Handout
The new LNG Terminal is built near the 1,200-MW Ilijan plant and the 1,313MW Batangas Combined Cycle Gas Plant. Handout

MANILA — The Department of Energy is pushing for the reopening of the 1,200 MW Ilijan power plant, which can help stabilize the power supply in Luzon.

The agency earlier blamed inadequacies of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines for Monday's power outages in various parts of the region.

"For as long as we have this Ilijan power plant, which is 1,200 megawatt and which has not been in operation since June of 2022, then for as long as it is not back in service then our reserves will necessarily be limited," Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla told ANC's "Headstart" Wednesday.

"So, we hope that by June, the Ilijan power plant with its LNG (liquified natural gas) fuel will already be online... The probability [is] we will have adequate supply once Ilijan is back in operation then we have really better chances of having a more stable supply in Luzon," he added.

The Ilijan plant is currently undergoing retrofitting works following the ceasing of gas supply deliveries from the Malampaya Natural Gas facility, San Miguel Corp said in April.

SMC has said that Ilijan has historically contributed up to 10 percent of Luzon's net reliable capacity and that it eyes reopening the plant this month, 

In the interview, Lotilla admitted he could not say if there would be no longer power interruptions in Luzon.

But he said the DOE is doing what it could to minimize inconvenience, like requiring the NGCP to ensure the implementation of its protection system among generation plants.

For Lotilla, the power supply issue can be addressed by fast-tracking and upgrading the transmission system in parts of Luzon and contracting of ancillary services.

"We would have had sufficient supply even though the reserves were thin but this particular tripping of the public transmission line was not expected and therefore did not figure in the power demand outlook for May," he said.

Lotilla is also seeking a performance audit of the NGCP.

"We want to be able to ascertain exactly where the weak points in the transmission system are and address them, whether it’s by NGCP or NGCP working with government or through PPP then we can try the other alternatives when needed," he said.

Monday's power interruptions were triggered by NGCP's transmission line trip-offs, which affected several major power plants.

The NGCP has admitted its Bolo-Masinloc 230 kV Line initially tripped, which triggered the red alert in the Luzon grid.

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