Workers struggle to bring facility back to Mindanao grid

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Photo from http://www.steagstatepower.com/

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – The repair crew of the Steag-owned State Power Inc. (SPI) in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental, have been working round the clock in trying to reconnect the coal-fired plant to the Mindanao grid, a company official said.

“SPI employees are working round-the-clock to restore the power plant back to the grid,” said the SPI plant manager, Dr. Carsten Evers, in a statement issued Thursday amid the rotating power interruptions – lasting up to four hours in many Mindanao areas.

Steag’s facility is a major source of electricity for the Mindanao grid and can churn out up to 310 megawatts at any given time. It accounts for a fifth of the grid’s supply.

The turbines of Steag’s two power plants in Misamis Oriental conked out following the massive power outages that hit Mindanao on February 27, the cause of which remained unexplained by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines.

The National Power Corp. said in a separate statement that technical problem affected the windbreaker of Agus I in Lanao, which caused the power outage.

“Our priority now is to restore the units back on line and ease up the critical power supply condition of Mindanao,” Evers said, adding that the German company has been “coordinating closely with the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Power Corporation (NPC) and the NGCP in addressing the concern.”

Jerome Soldevilla, SPI communications officer, said the power outages in Mindanao would likely continue in the coming days.

Soldevilla said this was due to the fact that repairs on the two power turbines might require 8-12 weeks based on the initial findings of the on-going technical evaluation.

Ross Luga, corporate head of the Davao Light and Power Co., said that in the case of Davao City, the one-hour rotating power interruption was not fixed and might be extended “up to two hours,” depending on the availability of power on a given schedule.

He said the rotational brownouts has been meant to provide a “more equitable sharing of the available power that remained in the DLPC service areas, as major power plants undergo repairs after the damage caused by the Mindanao-wide blackout the previous week.

“The rotating outages help avoid a total collapse of the entire Mindanao transmission grid, which happens when the demand for power exceeds the available supply,” a DLPC statement added. As of March 4, the NGCP reported an 86-megawatt-deficit in the Mindanao grid.

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