NGCP warns of thin power supply in Luzon grid as higher demand likely during dry season
MANILA, Philippines — The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) on Tuesday warned of thin power supply in the Luzon grid during the upcoming dry season due to expected higher demand.
The NGCP said the Department of Energy (DOE) has projected total peak demand of 12,387 MegaWatts (MW) for Luzon in the last week of May this year.
This is an increase of 747MW from the actual 2021 peak load of 11,640MW recorded on May 28 last year.
Meanwhile, in the Visayas, the peak demand occurred in December, mainly due to holiday activities, and in Mindanao, the peak demand occurred in August.
For the Visayas grid, the NGCP said the projected peak demand is at 2,528MW, higher than the 2,252MW actual peak demand recorded on December 31, 2021.
For Mindanao, the peak demand forecast is at 2,223MW, higher than the actual 2,144MW peak demand recorded on August 4, 2021.
“Thin operating margins (power in excess of demand, which is used to manage and balance the grid) is forecasted in the Luzon grid from April to June due to increase in demand during the summer, which includes the critical election period,” the NGCP said in a statement.
The NGCP said it coordinates the preparation and submission to the DOE of an annual grid operating and maintenance program (GOMP), which is the consolidated preventive maintenance schedules of power plants, considering the needed supply to meet the projected demand.
In compliance with the directive of the DOE, no maintenance shutdowns were scheduled during the dry months, it added.
“NGCP, in compliance with its mandate, coordinated with the generation and distribution sectors so that we could optimize and rationalize our own maintenance schedules, to ensure sufficiency, at least on paper, of power supply throughout the year,” it said.
However, as early as January, the NGCP said some generating units extended their maintenance shutdowns while others derated to decrease their committed generation output.
As a result, yellow alerts were issued on January 10 and 11.
A yellow alert is issued when the excess power is insufficient to meet the transmission grid’s regulating and contingency requirement, pegged at the time at about 495MW and 647MW, respectively.
“On paper, there appears to be sufficient supply to meet demand; but the plan on paper, the GOMP, is not always followed. It is when there are unscheduled shutdowns and derations, and extensions of maintenance duration, that grid operations may be disrupted enough to warrant the issuance of a grid alert status,” the NGCP explained.
“As the 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 added.
The red alert status is issued when supplies are insufficient to meet consumer demand and the transmission grid’s regulating requirement.
Red alerts were issued over the Luzon grid on May 31 and June 1 and 2 last year when a similar round of extended and unplanned maintenance shutdowns and derations occurred, depleting excess supplies and leading to rotational power interruptions implemented across the entire Luzon, the NGCP said.
The NGCP appealed to policymakers to explore demand-side management strategies to mitigate any possible power supply issues in the coming dry season, especially at or around the time of the May elections in a bid to alleviate possible power shortages.
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