By Marlon Purificacion | Journal Online
SENATOR Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. yesterday underscored the need for the next president to aggressively pursue a long-term strategy for adequate and reliable power supply.
Marcos was reacting to reports that a blackout threatened to hit Luzon Monday after 10 power plants failed to run because of technical difficulties, shedding over 1,275 megawatts from the grid. In response, the National Grid Corporation placed the Luzon grid on red alert for an hour due to zero contingency reserves.
The senator noted that most of the new power plants being built by the government are expected to go online at the end of 2016, placing the burden of ensuring ample power supply for the country on the shoulders of the next administration.
“From day one, the next administration should attend to the task of building our power generation capacity not only to provide sufficient power reserves, but also to address the expected annual increase in power demand,” Marcos said.
“Unless this is done, we will likely be in for a shock——frequent and longer brownouts for the entire country,” he added.
Marcos said that while around 23 coal-fired power plants are expected to be operational by 2020, they may not be enough.
Based on the projections of the Department of Energy (DoE), the country’s peak demand for power will grow at an annual average rate of 4.3 percent from 2012 to 2030.
Within that period, the DoE said the country will need over 13 megawatts of new power capacities to meet domestic power requirement, including the needed reserve margin.
Early this year, the DoE warned of the looming power crisis and asked Congress to grant emergency powers to the President to avert impending brownouts.
“Congress has granted the emergency powers for Malacañang but the situation remained practically the same: We have thin power reserves in Luzon and Visayas, and Mindanao continues to suffer from rotating brownouts. There is no other option but to build more power plants,” Marcos said.
Aside from merely preventing the inconvenience brought about by brownouts, Marcos said building more power plants will also boost the country’s economic growth.