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Malaysia Government Mendoza Solar , LLC Potential Partnership
March 15, 2014
California , USA | Virac , Philippines
Recent new developments between Mendoza Solar, LLC and the government of Malaysia point to a possibility of a partnership in renewable
energy projects, specifically solar photovoltaics.
ADB Now Supports Non-FIT Solar
MANILA, Philippines --- With global drop in photovoltaic (PV) technology prices, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has sounded off that it is now reviewing options to lend to solar projects even without the support of feed-in-tariffs.
ADB energy specialist Sohail Hasnie said they have initially penciled in $100-million credit facility which may be availed of by interested solar power developers.
ADB opens $100-M Facility for Rooftop Projects
MANILA, Philippines - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) plans to participate in the installation of numerous solar rooftops in commercial and industrial buildings locally.
Saudi Arabia Plans to Build 41 Gigawatt of Solar Power
A bold move, Saudi proposes to build the biggest solar electric system at 41 Gig! The catch.... it will take 2 decades and over $200B!
Land Bank Says It Will FUND Renewable Energy Projects
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
THE Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) said it will fund renewable energy projects like solar, wind, hydro and biomass.
Land Bank of the Philippines National Director Tommy de Leon told Sun.Star that the LBP, together with other government financing institutions, is mandated under the Renewable Energy Act to fund renewable energy projects.
Catanduanes Decades Old Recurring Power Nightmare About to Hit ...Again
Reposted from the Catanduanes Tribune:
Thepower industry players in Catanduanes have raised the spectre of four-hourbrownouts this summer as it allowed Catanduanes Power Generation Inc. (CPGI),reported to be losing money, to “curtail” its operations starting last month.
Duringthe so-called energy summit last Friday (Mar. 30), the First CatanduanesElectric Cooperative, Inc. (FICELCO) said that it advised CPGI not to operateits 3.6-megawatt bunker-fuel generating set since March 17, presumably toprevent further revenue losses and to take advantage of the availability ofcheaper power from the three hydroelectric plants.
Itwas bared that CPGI has been losing money in its operation of the power plant dueto the low fuel heat rate approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) inits May 2011 order approving the Electricity Supply Agreement between thecooperative and CPGI. The fuel heat rate refers to the number of liters of fuelconsumed by the genset for each kilowatthour produced.
Theindustry officials said the fuel rate of 0.2025 liter per kilowatthour okayedby ERC led CPGI to assume a loss of 0.665 liter per kWh as its application wasbased on a heat rate of 0.268 liter/kWh.
FICELCOofficer-in-charge Rodolfo Mendoza appealed to political leaders and the civilsociety to help persuade ERC to reconsider its position on the fuel heat rate beingsought by CPGI. It asked them to perhaps craft and sign a petition addressed tothe Commission supporting the power provider’s contention.
CPGIrepresentatives, however, assured that its power plant is ready to resumeoperation, knowing fully well that failure to do so would be in breach of theESA it signed with the cooperative. The 3.6-MW genset was actually leased bythe National Power Corporation in 2007 to FICELCO, which turned around andleased the same to CPGI for a reported P1-million annual rental.
Theimpending crisis began on March 19 when CPGI informed NPC that their fuelsupply would only be good for four (4) days as it has run out of cash and canno longer sustain its plant’s operation.
Ifand when CPGI decides to stop plant operation, it would take out from theCatanduanes grid a base load of 3 megawatts, which is equivalent to 31 percentof the total grid capability of 9.6 MW, NPC Plant Superintendent Engr. EdwinTatel informed summit participants.
Oncethe dry season sets in, the hydropower plants of Sunwest Water &Electricity Co. at Hitoma and Solong as well as the NPC’s Balongbong plantwould only be able to contribute 1.2 MW, with the bulk of the demand to beshouldered by the Monark rented mobile gensets at 2.8 MW, the Power Barge 110at 1.2 MW, the derated Marinawa diesel power plant at 0.6 MW and the under-rehabilitationViga DPP at 0.8 MW. Engr. Tatel disclosed that two brand-new 500-kW gensetsfrom China arrived March 16 and are now being installed, with completionscheduled April 23.
Withpeak load during a dry summer estimated at 8.2 MW, there would be a deficiencyof 1.6 MW equivalent to four hours of rotating brownouts in the entire gridfrom 6 P.M. to 10 P.M. from April to August, FICELCO’s Mendoza said.
Herevealed that he asked CPGI to hold its remaining 20,000 liters of bunker fuelon reserve during the Holy Week. The power provider, he added, wants to get anadvance from FICELCO for its fuel costs
Assumingthat CPGI would be out of the grid, the industry players said the only solutionwould be to maximize use of the NPC diesel plants and ask Monark to extend itsoperation by 10 hours, beyond its contracted operation of 12 hours per day, forfive (5) months.
However,the extended Monark operation from April to Augusr will require an additional1,134,000 liters of fuel, nearly equal to its normal 12-hour, five-month fuelrequirement of 1,360,800 liters. If this happens, the total fuel allocation ofthe NPC for its Marinawa DPP and Monark rented gensets would dwindle to an amount good for only one month. Therewould be no fuel budget for Monark operation for the next six months afterAugust, Engr. Tatel explained.
Onthe other hand, the proposed operation of the Viga DPP and Power Barge 110would entail a fuel consumption of 1,524,096 liters compared to its actualtotal allocation for 2012 of 95,000 liters good for only a week’s operation ofboth plants.
NPCsaid the budget for additional fuel would have to be sought from Congress. Healso informed that the Department of Budget and Management recently slashed theNPC-SPUG’s budget from P19 billion to just P15 billion, including theallocation for the proposed acquisition of three 500-kW gensets for Marinawa.
Inreaction, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) provincial director IreneoPanti Jr. suggested that the matter be brought to the attention of PresidentBenigno Simeon Aquino III during his scheduled visit here on April 24 for theinauguration of the Doppler radar facility in Bato.
Heurged NPC to make a situational analysis and recommendations for submission tothe president, adding that PMSMEDC and other groups have made far too manypetitions while summit meetings are noted for the absence of the heads ofSUWECO and CPGI.
Ofthe 12 local chief executives invited by FICELCO to the energy summit, noneappeared while Cong. Sarmiento sent a representative. Mendoza had hoped to askGovernor Joseph Cua and the 11 mayors what they could do to help CPGI
The Power Mess: How We Got into It and How to Get Out
8:38 pm | Monday, April 23rd, 2012
With the electricity rates in Luzon now among the highest in the world and Mindanao plagued by daily brownouts, the power situation in the Philippines can only be described as a mess. How did we work ourselves into this jam?
Well, there are several landmarks on the road to our current power crisis.
Three Landmarks on the Road to Crisis
The first was the decision, during the Marcos period, to build the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP). BNPP, a 620-Megawatt (MW) facility, was supposed to fill the additional demand for electricity in Luzon from the 1980’s on. The only problem—and a big one—was that the technology was unsafe and the plant was situated in a seismically active area and on the slope of a volcano–Mt. Natib–that could not be certified as dead.
BNPP had to be cancelled, and the Fukushima tragedy of 2011 proved in retrospect how correct that decision was. But not surprisingly, with the main power project designed to fill growing demand in Luzon sidelined, rolling brownouts hit the country in the early 1990’s. The administration of President Fidel Ramos then committed the second big blunder, which was to hurriedly contract independent power producers (IPP’s) to fill the power gap. With their notorious “take-or-pay” provision–meaning distributors had to pay for a specified amount of power whether they used it all up or not–IPP contracts pushed up the cost of electricity tremendously. The power retailers like Meralco, were not about ready to absorb the added cost, so they passed it on to the consumer.
The third milestone was the privatization of the National Power Corporation (NPC or Napocor) in 2001 via the so-called EPIRA law.
The Faulty Assumptions of EPIRA
EPIRA was informed by two heroic assumptions. The first was that the sale of government energy facilities would result in proceeds that would pay off Napocor’s massive debt, which reached P943 billion by 2001. As President Aquino described it at the 1st Mindanao Power Summit over a week ago, “The idea behind it [EPIRA] was: NAPOCOR would sell its power plants to private investors, and use the proceeds to pay its debt. This was supposed to put an end to the never-ending, increasing debt.”
The second assumption was that privatization would make the generation and delivery of electricity more efficient and thus bring down the cost of power. Private is better than public; the market is more efficient than the state: This was the neoliberal faith that was so enthusiastically embraced by Philippine technocrats in the 1990’s. This was the mindset that saw not only the surrender of NPC assets to the private sector but also the sale of the highly profitable Petron oil refining corporation to foreign interests and the ceding of the provision of water in the Metro-Manila area to the Ayalas and the Lopezes by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).
The reality that followed differed from the assumptions behind EPIRA.
First of all, the anticipated revenue did not materialize since NPC facilities were disposed off at fire sale terms. For instance, according to a report by the renewable energy group MinCARED , the Masinloc Geothermal Plant in Zambales, valued at $390 million, was sold to private investors who made an initial down payment of only 40 per cent, with the balance to be paid in seven years at $80 million yearly—an amount that is actually the average yearly income of the plant itself! Similarly, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) put in an initial payment of $987.5 million, or 25 per cent to acquire TRANSCO, NPC’s transmission facility. The remaining $2.92 billion or 148 billion pesos will be paid in 15 years. TRANSCO is earning an average of 15 billion a year, which is more than enough to cover NGCP’s yearly installment payment. In other words, as the analysis put it, “NGCP has only minimal investment in its acquisition of a highly profitable jewel of our country.”
Not surprisingly, the sale of NPC assets at extremely disadvantageous terms to the private sector has produced a situation in which NPC debt has not diminished but instead climbed from P943 billion in 2001 to P1.24 trillion in 2009.
The assumption that market forces would result in cheaper electricity owing to greater efficiency likewise did not pan out. The cross-ownership of power producers and electricity distributors allowed by EPIRA did not lead to greater competition but to what economist Edna Espos described as “institutionalized oligopoly …where the market is dominated by a small number of players who are able to collectively exert control over supply and market prices.” A key institution that EPIRA set up was the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM). Originally designed to be a mechanism for identifying and setting prices based on quantities of electricity transacted between many power generators and retailers, WESM’s prices actually came to reflect the dynamics of the collusive oligopoly that replaced the state monopoly.
Not surprisingly, the rates of Meralco, the country’s biggest power distributor, jumped by 112 percent over 10 years, while the rates charged by NPC went up by 95 per cent. Instead of dispersal of ownership, only a handful of groups – San Miguel Corp., the Aboitizes, the Lopezes, and “Manny Pangilinan Inc.”– control 52 percent of power generation. As Rep. Ben Evardone put it in a privilege speech in January of this year, “The EPIRA has obviously only harnessed the domination of only a few corporations in both the generation and distribution of power to the detriment of the Filipino power consumers. This can be attributed to the watered-down safeguards against monopoly in the electricity sector.”
Derailing Renewable Energy
Even as EPIRA floundered, the methods of power generation based on fossil fuels came under criticism for environmental reasons, including their contribution to global warming, of which the Philippines was a prime victim. The result of the widely felt need for a new direction in energy policy was the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, which sought to transform the country’s energy mix to one that was predominantly reliant on renewable sources like hydropower, solar, wind, and biomass. However, half-hearted commitment on the part of the Executive and resistance from business, which said renewable energy (RE) development would make power even more expensive, stalemated any move in the direction of RE. Instead, business interests, notably the Aboitizes, took advantage of projections of electricity demand to promote coal, the dirtiest energy source–both in terms of its impact on health and climate change–as the answer to the power crisis. From less than 10 per cent in 1991, coal plants now generate over 30 per cent of the country’s power. There are currently 11 coal-fired plants in the country, and plans are being accelerated to set up more. Most controversial is the Aboitiz project in the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority which is projected to produce some 400 to 600 MW to “stave off brownouts in Luzon by 2014,” according to Energy Secretary Rene Almendras. Equally controversial is the Department of Energy’s plan for Mindanao, which envisions the installation of 1000 MW of coal-powered energy capacity in the next few years. Almendras, a former Aboitiz executive, has become the high priest of coal, though it is probably technocratic belief in the efficacy of coal rather than ties to the company that drives his advocacy.
Mindanao: Battle Ground of Energy Paradigms
Mindanao has now become the site of the battle between pro-RE groups and pro-coal forces brandishing the argument that that energy source is the only way to meet that region’s rising demand. Currently, Mindanao has the most RE-friendly energy mix, with hydro, geothermal, and other renewable sources accounting for 60 per cent of energy generating capacity, in contrast to 42 per cent in the Visayas and a mere 32 per cent in Luzon, according to UP Professor Clodualdo del Mundo. Central to the energy complex of the region are the Agus-Pulangui dams, which generate 52 per cent of the region’s power supply. Mindanao’s largely hydro-based system also enjoys the lowest generation charge among the country’s regions, coming to 2.8 pesos per kilowatt hour–compared to 4.3 pesos in Luzon and 4.0 pesos in the Visayas, where the generation cost is tied to the international price of oil and coal on which power generation is dependent. Yet, owing to the deterioriation of the Agus-Pulangui dams, supply has become erratic, especially during the dry season. Rehabilitation of the two dams is badly needed. Also, siltation of the Agus River in Lanao and the Pulangui River in Bukidnon has deprived the dams of the amount of water needed for them to function at full capacity. As a consequence, the electricity provided by the hydropower plants has been reduced by about a third from its former level, according to a report in the Manila Times.
Given their central importance to Mindanao, the deteriorating condition of the Agus-Pulangui complex strikes some observers as suspicious. As the Freedom from Debt Coalition put it in its Open Letter to President Aquino, “There are indications that vested cartels are positioning themselves to corner a huge share of the electricity market by allowing the intentional decay of said power plants,” a development that “will also virtually guarantee long-term high electricity prices, since contracts will be pegged to the volatile oil market and the ever increasing international price of coal.”
Distrust is also being sown by DOE’s plan to add 1000 MW worth of capacity whereas its estimate of Mindanao’s current shortfall is only 100 MW. Pro-RE advocates suspect that the agency is preparing a major expansion of coal plants not only to support rising residential and industrial demand but also respond to the projected demand from the mining operations, including coal mining. Their suspicions have been further stoked by Almendras’ publicly proclaimed goal of making the Philippines’ self sufficient in coal and his plan of exploring “30 coal areas” in the country.
The Way Out of the Mess
So how does Mindanao and the country as a whole fight their way out of the power conundrum? The following plan, consisting of immediate, medium-term, and long-term components, is distilled from the proposal of a number of groups, such as Freedom from Debt Coalition, the Mindanao Congress of Advocates for Renewable Energy and Rural Electrification and Development (MinCARED), and Akbayan.
First of all, say RE advocates, there must be a multipronged effort to address the immediate crisis. Secretary Almendras must rescind his recent order to electric coops to fill surplus demand by buying electricity from private power plants and barges at 14 pesos per kilowatt hour.
“Two, the four power barges still under government control, each of which can generate 32 MW, must be deployed to Mindanao, to produce electricity that can be sold to consumers at a price based on a generating cost of 2.8 or 2.9 per kilowatt hour. Power from these barges, along with power from the Agus-Pulangui, should meet most of current demand, with the remainder of the shortfall filled by energy conservation efforts devised by LGU’s in cooperation with electric cooperatives.”
Three, the NPC must immediately upgrade the Agus-Pulangui hydro units, rehabilitating equipment, dredging the silt from the Agus and Pulangui Rivers, and undertaking watershed reforestation to promote sustained water flow.
Moving to the medium term, under the terms of EPIRA, Mindanao has been given a brief reprieve, meaning NPC’s assets there have not yet been sold to the private sector. This reprieve must be made permanent. Instead of turning over Agus-Pulangui to the private sector, a body could be set up along the lines of Rep. Maria Isabel Climaco’s proposal for a “Mindanao Power Company,” which would be a government-owned-and-controlled corporation, but with a multisectoral board, that would own, operate and control the Agus-Pulangui hydro power complexes. The idea, says Climaco, “is to have Mindanaoans be responsible for powering Mindanao.” Part of the financing of company could come from Mindanao’s 26 provincial governments.
In the long term, both for the sake of Mindanao and the whole country, EPIRA must be repealed. More than a decade after it was enacted, EPIRA has delivered the opposite of what it promised: higher electricity rates, an energy sector unable to cope with growing demand, inefficient provision of electricity, and a greedy oligopoly.
There must also be a decisive reversal of the trend to setting up more coal plants. While the expansion of coal is being justified as a temporary step as renewable energy projects are waiting to come on stream, the reality is that it will set up a massive fossil-fuel base energy infrastructure that is permanent, with all the damaging consequences for the environment and public health. The RE Act must, in short, be implemented, immediately. The feed-in tariff and other investment incentives must be deployed, and the latest innovations in solar, wind, biomass, and min-hydropower from Europe and China must be adapted to local conditions. While some RE projects have high start-up costs, in the long run these will fall and make RE equally if not more efficient than fossil fuels, and without the latter’s high environmental costs.
Also important is the institutionalization of citizen and consumer participation at all levels of energy planning to ensure accountability and transparency. The kind of brazen undermining of the Renewable Energy Act by the DOE in its promoting the expansion of the coal option must never be allowed to happen again.
Financing the Transition
Putting this energy plan into effect will take money. Where can this be sourced? Currently, the government is allocating over 20 per cent of the P1.8 trillion budget to creditors, many of whom have been paid many times for loans—including energy sector loans like the BNPP–that were given at crushingly high interest rates over the last four decades. A negotiated or unilateral reduction of debt repayments would release the funds much needed for putting in place a renewable energy infrastructure for the 21st century. An initial step might be the cancellation of fraudulent loans. As Lidy Nacpil of Jubilee South has pointed out, this is becoming politically feasible: in 2007, Congress actually approved a general appropriations bill with a provision on suspending debt payments for 17 loans that were found to be fraudulent. From that provision alone the government was expected to save approximately P29.5 billion that it could have devoted to pressing social or energy needs, but the measure was vetoed by then President Arroyo.
Many development economists, among them Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, have increasingly reached the conclusion that countries with massive debt loads will find it very difficult to develop, owing to the channeling of national financial resources to debt repayment. In contrast to the Philippine experience, in Argentina, the late President Nestor Kirchner unilaterally reduced the debt burden of the country to foreign bondholders from 100 cents to the dollar to some 25 cents to the dollar in 2003. The bondhholders howled, but they eventually gave in. The result was an impressive 10 per cent per annum growth rate between 2003 and 2008 as financial resources were rechanneled from debt service to domestic investment.
If our country is to develop, if it is to have a 21st century renewable energy infrastructure, courage like Kirchner’s needs to be displayed by our leaders.
*INQUIRER.net columnist Walden Bello is a member of the House of Representatives representing Akbayan. He was formerly Chairman of the Freedom from Debt Coalition.
Mindanao power crisis to last until 2013 — Govt
Friday, 23 March, 2012
THE power shortage in Mindanao will last until 2013 even if the government moves to increase the base load capacity on the island by contracting more power barges and building coal-fired power plants, an official said Friday. “In 2014 to 2016 you have enough committed projects,” Energy Secretary Rene Almendras said during a Cabinet meeting led by President Benigno Aquino III.
“Our shortage really here is in 2012 and 2013.”
Almendras said two coal-fired plants that will be built with a combined generating capacity of 300 megawatts would be operational only in 2014. A temporary solution to plug the power shortage on the island would be to contract at least seven power barges and rehabilitate the old transformers of the Agus VI hydroelectric plant. Almendras said two of Therma Marine Inc.’s power barges with a capacity of 100 megawatts each could be contracted. Therma Marine could also sign a contract with the electric cooperatives in Mindanao to deliver another 85 megawatts of power.
Mr. Aquino, however, said contracting the power barges would result in higher electricity costs in Mindanao. “You will have to share the burden,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Energy Department on Friday said it had released the circular that would result in the freeing up of as much as 300 megawatts of electricity to plug the power shortage in Mindanao.
The circular orders state-run National Power Corp. And the other power suppliers in Mindanao to make all available capacities for the use of the Mindanao grid. Mindanao was short of 150 megawatts of power as of Friday. Meanwhile, the lawmakers from Mindanao, upset over the crippling power shortage on the island, on Friday demanded the ouster of Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras and other Energy Department officials for their supposed gross incompetence and dereliction of duty. They made the demand even as House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. expressed full support for House Resolution 2303 filed by Mindanao’s lawmakers urging the government to implement “urgent and necessary” actions to ease the power shortage on the island.
“Yes, I support the House Resolution filed by our Mindanao congressmen,” Belmonte told the Manila Standard. “We have to investigate to know what is going on.” Belmonte said the House leadership will give priority to the resolution and other similar resolutions seeking end Mindanao’s power shortage.
Mindanao’s lawmakers are demanding the ouster of Almendras and the top officials of the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp., National Power Corp., and the Energy Department’s agencies. “Almendras and his people allowed the power crisis to happen and worsen despite the fact that they are aware of the power shortage in Mindanao upon the assumption of President Aquino in 2010,” AGHAM party-list Rep. Angelo Palmones said.
House Minority Leader and Zambales Rep. Milagros Magsaysay, a member of the House committee on energy, felt the same way. “This is a very clear case of noynoying the Mindanao power problem,” she said. “No amount of technical, economic and financial justification is acceptable. Lying and resorting to disinformation and deceit to cover up the mess won’t work at all. “We cannot blame Mindanao’s lawmakers for seeking the ouster of these incompetent, insensitive and noynoying energy officials who are inflicting so much damage and suffering to the people of Mindanao.” Maguindanao Rep. Simeon Datumanong said Almendras and the other officials responsible for the power outages in Mindanao should resign immediately.
“If Secretary Almendras neglects to solve the problem in Mindanao, then he should resign,” said Datumanong, member of the House committee on Mindanao Affairs. “Clearly, Secretary Almendras has failed to solve the power shortage in Mindanao again.” Palmones said Almendras and other officials “should be fired for sheer incompetence and negligence and dereliction of duty.” “They were all aware of the power shortage and requirements of Mindanao,” he said.
“They knew that the onset of summer would result in low water levels in the dams that would prevent the hydroelectric power plants from totally meeting the power supply requirement of 1,300 megawatts.” Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexi Nograles said the power shortage in many parts of Mindanao was a crime against the people. “Mindanao could not be lacking in power sources,” he said.
“I hope it is not human greed that is causing all our woes.” Palmones said Almendras and his people knew that the use of power barges was one of the major solutions to the problem, but in January they did not do anything to rehabilitate four idle power barges capable of supplying 400 megawatts to Mindanao. They wanted to privatize all the power barges.
Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab complained of the government’s supposed inaction on the problem.
““We hope they [Almendras and his officials] can immediately find a remedy,” he said. With Alena Mae S. Flores and Maricel Cruz
Longer power outages
loom in Mindanao
Philstar – Wed, Mar 7, 2012
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Mindanao is set to experience longer blackouts, particularly with the onset of summer, due to the island’s continuing power shortage.
Mindanao is largely dependent on hydroelectric power generated mainly from PulangiRiver in Bukidnon and LakeLanao in MarawiCity, whose water levels have gone down beyond normal.
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has already implemented load curtailment as early as two months ago with the shortage in supply of hydroelectric power.The load curtailment will allow the NGCP to still distribute power to different utilities in Mindanao but this will still be inadequate, resulting in power outages of up to 18 hours a day in some parts of the island. Former senator Juan Miguel Zubiri earlier warned of “catastrophic” blackouts, as Mindanao’s power deficit has deteriorated to 10 percent of peak system demand versus only five percent a week ago.
“This implies that the previous two- to four-hour daily blackouts in many parts of Mindanao have started to worsen to four- to six-hour outages,” Zubiri said.
Malacañang has vowed to meet with power stakeholders and local government officials in Mindanao to address the lingering power shortage.As of yesterday, the NGCP placed Mindanao’s gross power deficit at 154 megawatts, as the island only had a system capacity of 1,099 MW as against its actual peak of 1,253 MW.
As of March 2, Zubiri, citing NGCP figures, said Mindanao’s gross power deficit stood at 124 MW, with peak system demand of 1,244 MW and available generating capacity of only 1,120 MW. Last Feb. 24, the island’s power deficiency stood at only 67 MW, he said.
“We are appealing to the Department of Energy to find ways to avert the further deterioration of Mindanao’s already harsh power deficit,” Zubiri said. Even if the government manages to temporarily plug Mindanao’s 124-MW shortfall, he said the island still faces the risk of prolonged blackouts due to lack of standby power, or gross reserves.
“We have a generating capacity deficit. We do not only have enough power to meet peak daily requirements, we also do not have any extra supplies needed to kick in once a power plant conks out for any reason, or is shut down for preventive maintenance,” he said. Zubiri earlier warned of crippling eight-hour daily blackouts in Mindanao when the weather heats up by April, if the island’s massive power deficit is not addressed.
In a letter to Energy Secretary Jose Almendras, Zubiri urged the provisional deployment of additional power barges to boost supply in the affected areas. He also sought the use of the P2-billion ($ 45million USD) renewable energy trust fund to grant perks to entities willing to bring in new biomass, solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and/or ocean power supplies, exclusively for Mindanao, in six to 18 months.
Zubiri is the author of the Renewable Energy Law of 2008 and former chairman of the Senate committee on environment and natural resources.
Zubiri also batted for the energy sector’s retention in the Investment Priorities Plan of the Board of Investments, in order to attract fresh capital needed to quickly beef up Mindanao’s power supply.
With Roel Pareño - By Edith Regalado (Philstar News Service, www.philstar.com)
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