Energy exec says gov’t to blame for power crisis

Energy exec says gov’t to blame for power crisis
Philippine Daily Inquirer

OZAMIZ CITY—ENERGY Undersecretary Zamzamin Ampatuan said it was not the El Niño weather phenomenon but the government’s lack of planning that gave rise to the power crisis.

Ampatuan said the main problem was really power generation, “so let us stop blaming the weather.”

“We have to accept the fact that we did not generate enough power,” he said during an information campaign on the 20-Year Philippine Energy Plan and Nuclear Energy 101 held in Ozamiz City on Thursday.

Ampatuan said the government did not have a concrete energy plan before the onset of the power crisis that the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, the private operator of the country’s transmission network, has blamed on the prolonged dry spell which has left many dams unable to provide electricity.

Ampatuan said the country generated 60 percent of its power source from hydroelectric plants and did not have a plan for alternative energy sources.

He said building more hydropower plants was out of the question because when the level of water sources is depleted, as happens every summer, the country faces a power crisis.

On Friday, the power deficiency in Mindanao reached 700 megawatts as peak load demand rose to 1,451 MS. The hydropower plants and other power sources were only churning out about 750 megawatts.

Ampatuan said the country had the wrong mix of energy sources.

He noted that among the most viable sources of energy were coal-fired power plants, but stressed that only “clean coal technologies” should be adopted.

But while the government may want to put up coal-fired power plants, it does not have the funds, he said.

A 1,000-MW coal-fired power plant costs $2 billion, he noted. “Where will the government get such an amount?” he said.

Ampatuan said the solution lies in the private sector, which could put more money into the construction of coal-fired power plants.

Last Friday, the first unit of the 246-MW clean coal-fired power plant of the Cebu Energy Development Corp. began full commercial operations in Toledo, Cebu. The first unit has a capacity of 82 MW. The remaining two units, also with 82-MW capacity each, will begin operations in May and December.

There is only one coal-fired power plant operating in Mindanao, the 210-MW plant in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental, owned by STEAG State Power Devt. Corp. Tito Fiel, Ryan Rosauro and Frinston Lim, Inquirer Mindanao

Karen Ang

A plebeian who is trying to make small changes in this world.