The Energy Department ordered state-owned Philippine National Oil Co. to study the development of a 200-megawatt liquefied natural gas power plant in Batangas to boost the country’s power reserves.
“We’re making a study. I asked PNOC to make a study for a 200-MW LNG that would serve as a buffer stock for government to use in case of shortage of power,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi told reporters after the Senate hearing on the Luzon power situation.
Cusi reiterated the need for adequate reserves in the wake of the yellow and red alerts experienced by the Luzon power grid from July 26 to August 5.
He said the government might fund the construction of the power plant through PNOC because of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 barring National Power Corp. from putting up new power plants.
“We are required to have some reserve so we just want to make sure that we have a reserve… We’re looking at Batangas, PNOC has a property in Batangas so we’re using that in our study,” the energy chief said.
Cusi said putting up a 200-MW coal plant would take more time than building a LNG power plant.
“We’re still in the study portion. But I’m not saying the study will take 12-18 months. We’re rushing it. (Construction is) 12-18 months from the time we finish the study. Hopefully, we finish the study within any time now so we can bring it to the board,” he said.
He said the study would cover the construction cost that the government would monitor to prevent overburdening the consumers.
Cusi said if the proposed 200-MW LNG plant wass not feasible, other power stations were expected to come online, such as those of Energy World Corp., San Gabriel and Avion natural gas plants.
The 450-MW San Gabriel and 100 Avion natural gas power plants are already in testing and commissioning stage and are expected to start commercial operations this year.
“Based on the number, we have sufficient supply. Peak is 9,700 MW peak, 13,000 MW available capacity,” Cusi said when asked if there will be future power outages.
DMCI Power Corp. of the Consunji Group, meanwhile, is investing P600 million to build a 9.9-MW bunker-fired power plant in Aborlan, Palawan to stabilize electricity supply in the franchise area of Palawan Electric Cooperative, Inc.
DMCI Power, the off-grid arm of DMCI Holdings Inc., said in a statement the plant was expected to start operations by the end of the year.
“We are investing approximately P600 million in Aborlan to address the continuing increase in electricity demand in the province due to the rise of local tourism and commercial establishments,” said DMCI Power president Nestor Dadivas.
Aborlan is a first-class municipality located 69 kilometers south of Puerto Princesa City. Its population is estimated at over 32,000.