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NGCP says tight power supply looms during dry season months

The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) on Friday said the power supply is seen to be thin during the hot dry season months due to the expected uptick in demand.

In a statement, the NGCP, citing a forecast from the Department of Energy (DOE), said the total peak demand of 13,125 megawatts (MW) for the Luzon grid is seen to occur towards the end of May, an 8.35% increase from the actual 2022 peak load of 12,113MW which occurred on May 12, 2022.

For the Visayas grid, the peak demand is seen at 2,691MW, up 16.9% from the actual peak load of 2,316MW seen in September last year.

For the Mindanao grid, the projected peak demand is at 2,395MW, 10.52% higher than the actual peak load of 2,167MW seen in June 2022.

The NGCP added that thin operating margins - power in excess of demand - from where ancillary services or power used to manage and balance the grid are taken are also projected this year.

“For the Luzon grid, these are forecasted from April to June due to the historically high demand during the summer months,” it said.

“While base case projections show no occurrence of yellow or red alerts, there are weeks between March and April where operating margins are below required levels due to higher demand and planned outages of plants,” the grid operator said.

Energy Undersecretary Rowena Guevarra earlier said the Luzon power grid is expected to be placed under yellow alert 12 times — during the year’s week 11 in March, weeks 13 and 17 in April, all weeks of May, weeks 22 and 23 in June, week 35 in September, week 42 in October, and week 47 in November.

A yellow alert is issued when the operating margin is insufficient to meet the transmission grid’s regulating and contingency requirement, which is at 668MW each.

A red alert status is issued when supplies are insufficient to meet consumer demand and the transmission grid’s regulating requirement.

The NGCP said it coordinated the preparation and submission to the DOE of an annual Grid Operating and Maintenance Program (GOMP), a consolidated preventive maintenance schedule of power plants, with consideration for the needed supply to meet the projected demand.

The grid operator said the 2023 GOMP was approved by the DOE on December 27, 2022.

In compliance with the DOE directive, no maintenance shutdowns were scheduled during the summer months, it said.

“NGCP coordinates with the generation and distribution sectors to optimize and rationalize maintenance schedules to ensure sufficiency, at least on paper, of power supply throughout the year,” the company said. “Unplanned shutdowns, which are outside of the GOMP, may still have a significant impact on the supply-demand profile if, as in the past years, several power plants simultaneously shut down outside of its schedule,” the grid operator said.

“While the GOMP is formulated to ensure the adequacy of supply, especially during the critical months, there are instances of forced or unplanned outages of plants which may disrupt the normal operations of the grid and warrant the issuance of yellow or red alerts. As a transmission service provider, NGCP can only give an overview of the current supply and demand situation, and endeavor to dispatch any and all available grid resources. It cannot intervene on matters concerning power generation,” it said.

To alleviate possible power shortages, the NGCP is also appealing to policymakers to immediately explore demand-side management strategies to mitigate any possible supply issues in the coming summer months.

Energy stakeholders have agreed to implement a “gas swapping arrangement” to ensure a stable power supply amid projected thin reserves during the peak demand in dry season months from March to July this year. —NB, GMA Integrated News

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