SMC Global Power Holdings Corp., the energy arm of San Miguel Corp., offered to supply cheap power to the Luzon grid from a unit of its 600-megawatt Limay power plant in Bataan to help ease the tight power supply during the 20-day shutdown of the Malampaya natural gas facility.
“We can help during the Malampaya shutdown because our unit 1 is now producing 150 megawatts, but it’s expensive because it is currently running on diesel. But we will help the grid to make sure that there will be no [power] shortage,” San Miguel president Ramon Ang told reporters.
San Miguel’s Limay plant is now undergoing testing and commissioning while the first unit is targeted to start operations in May. All units are expected to be in full commercial operations by August next year.
Ang said his company was willing to sell power at a lower price. Natural gas only costs around P4 per kilowatt-hour while diesel costs P6 to P8 per kWh. SMC’s coal power plants sell electricity at an average rate of P3 per kWh.
Ang said Limay plant was one of the cleanest in the country, as he denied reports that the facility did not follow environmental rules set by the Environment Department.
“Limay is not yet running on coal, but on diesel. So, how can ash come from us?” Ang said.
The company was issued notices of violation on Dec. 28, 2016 and Jan. 6, 2017 by the Environmental Management Bureau for ash that had allegedly polluted a waterway.
Ang offered to supply power from Limay after the Energy Department said it was looking at ways to avert a power supply shortage once the Malampaya gas facility went offline starting Jan. 28.
Around 2,170 MW in power capacity is expected to go offline during the scheduled maintenance of the Malampaya gas field in northwest Palawan.
The Malampaya gas project powers major power plants in Batangas with a combined capacity of 2,700 MW.
These facilities include Calaca U1 (200 MW), Quezon Power (456 MW) and Ilijan Block 1 (600 MW) that will go on planned outage. They also include the 414-MW San Gabriel plant which will not be able to run due to fuel constraints and Ilijan Block 2 (180 MW).
The Energy Department also works to ensure that government-owned 470-MW Malaya thermal power plant in Pililia, Rizal will run during the period. The agency aims to ensure readiness of Interruptible Load Program participants with a total of 900 MW to augment supply during the critical period.
The agency said it would monitor and secure generation capabilities of renewable energy facilities, particularly geothermal, hydropower and biomass power plants. Water resources for hydropower plants will be impounded to increase generation output during the maintenance period.
Based on estimates, the highest demand is projected to reach 8,610 MW on Feb. 9, while the lowest reserve level is projected at 706 MW on Feb. 16, which would lead to a possible yellow alert.