Monday, February 21, 2011

Mindanao will experience power outages in March: PIA

KORONADAL CITY, Philippines - Mindanao could experience power outages in March, Department of Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said.

Almendras, who visited Koronadal on Friday, said that for three weeks in March, Mindanao could experience at least two to three hours of power interruptions, particularly during peak hours because of grid operations maintenance protocol they will implement next month.

Last week, the National Grid Corporation (NGCP) informed South Cotabato 1 Electric Cooperative (SOCOTECO 1) General Manager Santiago Tudio of a possible power curtailment of 1 megawatt for the province in March reportedly because the National Power Corporation (Napocor) will be de-silting a large part of Pulangi river where the hydropower plants are located.

“From last week of May until the first week of June, the power supply will be very tight so if something goes wrong, brownouts are possible,” Almendras added.

“But the possibility that there will be brownout in June is very minimal because in the past seven months we have put in place several measures to ensure that there will be no shortage of supply this year.”

However, Almendras pointed out that Mindanao is very short of power supply. “Kahit isang generator lang ang masisira, siguradong magkakaroon kayo ng brownout dahil wala kayong reserve,” he said.

To augment this power shortage in the region, DOE is rushing the rehabilitation of the Iligan 100-megawatt diesel plant.

“We are also trying to move four barges from Panay Island to Mindanao but all these are stop-gap measures. They are only able to supply the present needs,” he said.

DOE is considering the development of alternative indigenous power sources, including establishment of coal-fired power plants.

“We have no choice but to develop indigenous resources and coal is the cheapest alternative source next to nuclear power,” he said.

He explained that there are already technologies to use coal without necessarily endangering the environment.

“There are already coal-fired power plants in the middle of Tokyo, Taipei and major cities of Europe because they already have technologies for clean coal,” he said. (Philippine Information Agency)

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