Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Electric Power Crisis in Mindanao

Electricity is a basic part of nature and it is one of our most widely used forms of energy. Electricity is the result output of the conversion process of the primary and secondary sources of energy, like hydro plant, geothermal plant, coal plant, natural gas, diesel/bunker fuel, and the nuclear power.

Electric power history in Mindanao. Fifty eight years ago, first hydro power plant owned by National Power Corporation was built in Fuentes, Iligan City and now named as Agus 6 has a capacity of 50 Megawatt. In Year 1957, the second hydro plant was built and located at Damilag, Bukidnon named as Agusan Hydro Electric Power Plant, has capacity of 1.6 Megawatt. In the year 1972, Talomo hydro plants was built four plants in Mintal, Davao City and one hydro plant at Calinan, Davao City and has a total of generating capacity of 4.47 Megawatt. Agus 6 was upgraded and installed additional 150 Megawatt in the year 1977. In year 1979, third hydro electric plant was built in Sagulara, Lanao Del Sur named Agus 2 has capacity of 158.1 Megawatt. The fourth hydro electric plant with capacity of 54 Megawatt was built in 1982 at Fuentes, Iligan City and named as Agus 7. Until the succeeding year the fifth hydro plant was built and named as Agus 4 and installed at Baloi, Lanao Norte and has capacity of 55 Megawatt. And, In the Year 1992, 180 Megawatt hydro plant was built in Marawi City, Lanao Del Sur. NPC also owned a 255 Megawatt of hydro power plant at Pulangi, Bukidnon. From early 1950’s up to this current year NAPOCOR has a 908.17 Megawatt capacity of hydro electric power plant in Mindanao (NAPOCOR, Philippines). Because of upsurge demand of electricity, the government persuaded the private sector to invest a power generating plants in Mindanao.

Geothermal power energy was built in Kidapawan North Cotabato, Mindanao 1 has a capacity of 52 megawatt and started providing electricity in Mindanao last March 04. 1997 and the Mindanao 2 was built and has a capacity of 54 megawatt and started providing electricity last June 17, 1999. This geothermal plant owned by private sector, Lopez group of company.

Last June 2001, Republic Act 9136 Electric Power Industry Reform ACT (EPIRA) was implemented that allowed privatization of NPC assets through an open and competitive bidding process. Last 2004, HEDCOR won the bid to purchase Talomo hydro plant. First coal power plant in Mindanao was built in Misamis Oriental by STEAG State Power Inc. and operated last 2007 after three years construction. The power plant has a capacity of 232 megawatt. HEDCOR built a 42.5 Megawatt hydro power plant at Sibulan, Sta. Cruz Davao Del Sur last 2007 and commercially operational last 2009. Mindanao electricity grid was characterized by an installed capacity of approximately 1,700 megawatt only, of which 950.67 MW is hydro, 232 MW is coal, 106 MW geothermal and the balance is diesel/bunker fired.

Electric power history in Davao City. After the World War II only one 300-horsepower diesel engine electric power generator was left from the generation facilities of Davao Light and Power Company and it has a generating capacity of 1.5 Megawatt. This capacity is enough to supply the electric demand of the City. Early 1950’s Davao City use of electricity was for lighting the houses at night only. Davao Light was continued investing a large power generator. In year 1963 Davao light installed 25 Megawatt power generator fired by bunker fuel much cheaper than diesel fuel. It was the first power generating utility in the Philippines use by bunker fuel in diesel engine (“DLPC History”). Davao Region’s are dependent on fuel fired electric power generating facilities handled by Davao light and Power Company until 1979. In the year 1979, Davao light started on hooked up with the Mindanao grid of National Power Corporation.

Davao Region’s Today. In Davao Region’s, Davao City is the capital center of the region. The demand of electricity is highly increasing because of the upsurge business investors investing in the City. Another shopping mall and condominiums are rising in the City that will consume a megawatt of electric power every day that will contribute in addition of power shortage in Mindanao.

Davao Light and Power Company were reliant on the power generation of NAPOCOR. Since, HEDCOR hydro power plant will not capable to supply the electricity demand of the entire City. DLPC maintains a 58.7 MW standby diesel power plant located in Bajada with a capability of 46 MW for sustained operations which is capable of supplying 19.6 percent of Davao Light electricity requirement.

Last year Davao regions was experienced a rotational brownout, other area of the regions suffer from six hours of rotational brownout, while Davao City experienced one hour rotational brownout, because Mindanao had borne the brunt of crippling power outages that struck in the first half, as a drought left dry the dams powering hydroelectric plants that account for more than half of Mindanao’s supply.The experience had revived calls to wean Mindanao away from overdependence on hydro power, which is cheaper than electricity generated from other sources of energy.

Because the City is considered the biggest consumer of power, Mr. Aboitiz said it would be better to set up the power plant here in Davao Area. Aboitiz Power Corporation announced it plans to invest $400 million in a new 200 MW of coal-fired power plant. Vice-Mayor Rodrigo Duterte supports the plan of aboitiz, but his daughter Mayor Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio has been lukewarm to it, citing perceived environmental problems since it will use coal as fuel. Inday Sara’s stance has gained the support of environmental groups.

Drought in Mindanao has ended, but the shortage of power is perceptible.

Davao Light and Power Company still using their back-up generator during peak hour to sustained the deficit of power in the City.

Dispute Concerning Power Outage. Mindanao power situation, based on the rule of thumb, it takes three years to build and, there after commercially operate. Considering that Mindanao is experiencing economic growth as indicated by the ten percent increase in NPC’s electricity sales for the first semester of 2010. The building of power plants in Mindanao should be undertaken immediately to augment its existing capacity.

The stability of power has a ripple effect on the economy, more livelihoods of the community, peace and order and even on population control. Any improvement in energy efficiency such as lesser of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and carbon dioxide (co2) would translate to a healthier environment.

The 200 MW coal-fired power plant proposals here in Davao City by Aboitiz group and the other 200 MW with two incremental expansions of 350 MW at Maasim, Sarangani by Alcantara-controlled Conal Holdings Corporation, are the resolution of power outages in Mindanao. Coal is one of the oldest sources of fossil fuel and when burned, produces energy but it also emits toxic gasses, such as carbon monoxide, when unchecked. We are now in modern technology that will use to minimize the plant’s environmental impact. In my research coal is the best alternative for power generating, but I am open for the discussion of the other viable of power generating resources.

1. What are the other potential sources of energy in Mindanao and there environmental effect?

Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form of energy by using wind turbines to make electricity. Wind energy, as an alternative to fossil fuels, renewable, clean and produces no greenhouse gas emissions during operation (

Based on potential resources plan of NAPOCOR, In Region XI good-to-excellent potential wind resources exist in Southern Mindanao along mountains that separate Davao del Sur from southern Cotabato.

In Region XIII wind potential in Nuventa, Surigao del Sur potential of 15 megawatts (MW). Good-to excellent wind energy potential also exist in the mountain range along Macopa in Surigao del Norte to west of Lake Mainit in Agusan del Norte.

The potential of wind energy in Mindanao is very limited, because Mindanao surrounded with mountains that trap the wind to enter the island. Wind power needs excellent air to rotate the propeller and to generate power.

Geothermal energy is a termal generated energy and stored in the Earth. Thermal energy is energy that determines the temperature of matter. Earth's geothermal energy originates from the original formation of the planet, from radioactive decay of minerals, from volcanic activity, and from solar energy absorbed at the surface. The geothermal gradient, which is the difference in temperature between the core of the planet and its surface, drives a continuous conduction of thermal energy in the form of heat from the core to the surface.

Geothermal power is cost effective, reliable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. Geothermal wells release greenhouse gases trapped deep within the earth, but these emissions are much lower per energy unit than those of fossil fuels from coal.

Based on potential resources plan of NAPOCOR, In region IX Peninsula Zamboanga has a total of 115 megawatts (MW) of possible geothermal energy resources. The site is specifically located in Lakewood, Zamboanga del Sur. There are several sites for possible geothermal exploration located in the region X. The sites around Malindang, Misamis Occidental have a potential capacity of 40 megawatts (MW).

In region XI currently offers 150 megawatts (MW) of potential geothermal resources for development. The area with the largest geothermal potential lies between Ugos Dome, Amacan and Gopod North Solfataras, located in the province of Davao. Several other prospective geothermal sites have been identified in Manat and Masara in Compostela Valley, Cateel Santiago, Tarragona, Mati City, Lupon Davao Oriental, Digos, Jose Abad Santos and Balut Island in Davao del Sur.

In region XIII the potential geothermal energy resource estimated at 55 megawatts (MW) located in Mainit, Surigao del Norte. Such areas are the potential of geothermal resources that will use to generate power and to augment electricity in whole Mindanao.

Solar energy is an alternative source that involves harnessing the radiant light energy emitted by the sun and converting it into electrical current.

Since, solar needs the heat of the sun the availability of the power source is limited only for daytime. Solar is less likely as alternative source of power in Mindanao.

Based on potential resources plan of NAPOCOR, as of 2005, the region has an in-situ coal reserve of 8.6 million metric tons located in Zamboanga del Norte. Coal prospects in Malangas, Zamboanga del Norte is being offered under the Philippine Energy Contracting Round (PECR) 2005 for exploration, development and production

In region X, 50 million metric tons of coal resource can be found in the region, specifically in the province of Bukidnon.

Total in-situ coal reserves in Region XII is recorded at 126.1 million metric tons and is located in the coal-bearing areas in South Cotabato, while potential coal resources in Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat are estimated at 84.1 metric tons. Some areas are also being explored through two Coal Operating Contracts (COCs) issued to MG Mining and Energy Corporation and the Bonanza Energy Resources, Inc.
In Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Initial findings show that the region has a coal resource potential of 21 million metric tons located in Maguindanao.

In Mindanao approximately 289.8 million metric tons total of coals are available. Coal power plant is cheaper than other alternative source, but the larger generating capacity, compared to the hydro plant, geothermal plant and wind plant.

Environmental impact of Coal Energy. Coal, the most abundant fossil fuel in the world, and has been used for thousands of years as a valuable natural resource. Fossil fuels are derived from plant and animal matter. They formed naturally over millions of years. These energy-producing fuels are the remains of ancient life that have undergone changes due to heat and pressure. The primary fossil fuels are coal, petroleum and natural gas.

Coal is a dark, combustible material formed, through a process known as coalification, from plants growing primarily in swamp regions. Layers of fallen plant material accumulated and partially decayed in these wet environments to form a spongy, coarse substance called peat. Over time, this material was compressed under sand and mud, and heated by the earth to be transformed into coal. Some scientists refer to coal as sedimentary rock. Coal is primarily composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen.

The mining and burning of coal has a long history of negative environmental impacts. (Asian Development Bank) report of2009, “coal is one of the biggest causes of climate change." Of all the fossil fuels, coal emits the most carbon dioxide, and the climate change in each country, it also emit mercury and other toxins into the environment. Mercury is a bioaccumulative toxin buildup in animal tissues, especially fat part of the fish, the belly. It can pose public health problems related to fish consumption (Guerrero said). Coal plant would have a drawback on the environment to which the future generation would feel its ill effects.

Modern Technology to eliminate environmental effect of coal energy. Regulations and environmental awareness have helped to improve the coal industry. Newer operations have been employing positive environmental techniques including cogeneration, waste-coal usage, clean coal technologies, and land reclamation.

Several modifications have been made to improve sulfur emissions from coal-fired power plants. First, washing the coal chunks before they are sent to a power plant removes some of the impurities. At some power plants, crushed coal is mixed and burned with limestone in a boiler of moving air, a "fluidized bed boiler." This process allows the limestone to combine with sulfur particles to form a compound, which is then extracted.

Another method reduces sulfur dioxide gases after the coal is burned. This process takes place in "scrubbers," or flue gas desulfurization units. A combination of water and crushed limestone is sprayed into the coal gases as they rise in the smokestacks. The limestone absorbs much of the sulfur dioxide before the gases are expelled into the environment. To decrease the emission of nitrogen oxide, coal is burned at lower temperatures. Together, these practices remove more than 95% of the pollutants caused by sulfur and nitrogen. Mercury is removed by calcium-based absorbents (sorbents). Other methods are being developed to further reduce mercury emissions.

Coal gasification, is an advanced clean coal technology, which uses a coal conversion process. Coal, combined with steam and oxygen, is heated at high temperatures. This process changes it into synthesized gas. By using this process, 99% of the sulfur content can be removed from the coal. Carbon monoxide and hydrogen gases can be collected to make useful products. Methanol fuel, produced in coal-gasification plants, can be used as a fuel for vehicles. Many such plants use an integrated gasification combined-cycle process (IGCC) to further reduce pollution and waste. Hot coal gases are used to run a gas turbine for producing electricity, and the residual heat is used to boil water for a traditional steam generator and to produce electricity.

Over the past twenty years, the coal industry has made substantial progress. Even as aggressive efforts are being put forth to research new clean coal technologies, coal energy proponents and opponents abound.

2. What way can community help to reduce the electric shortage? Energy runs machinery in factories, lights our cities and today’s used to power the vehicle by charging it to the outlet. There has been an enormous increase in the demand for energy as a result of industrial development and population growth. Supply of energy is, therefore, far less than the actual demand.An electricity shortage is felt most by those who depend on electricity for their heating, cooking and water supply. In these circumstances a sustained energy crisis may become a humanitarian crisis.

A participation of every individual to save electricity on daily activity will diminish the power demand. If we look, average of 10 watts savings for one million people every day, will result of 10 megawatts (MW) decrease of power demand every day. Saving electricity doesn't just save money, it also saves the environment. Below are the saving tips by using electricity.
A. Don’t leave electrical appliances on standby.

Many of us with use the remote to switch off the TV or Stereo, leaving the appliance running on standby. This actually means the appliance is still using up electricity and wastes a considerable amount of energy. By switching off at the main power button, or even the socket, you could be saving both energy and money. Items left on standby use up to 15% of the energy they would use if fully switched on. An extra million tons of carbon will be released into the atmosphere through this power wastage. B. Use Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) in your home.

In most homes, about 10-15% of the electricity bill is for lighting. So energy saving light bulbs can cut your costs considerably. Traditional bulbs waste a lot of energy by turning it into heat but energy saving bulbs work in the same way as fluorescent lights, the tubes coating glows brightly as an electric current passed through gas in the tube. They may be more expensive to buy than traditional bulbs, but they are worth the investment as last over 10 times longer and use up to 4 times less energy. Where you would use a 100w ordinary bulb, you would only need a 20-25w energy saving bulb. With savings like this, changing bulbs throughout your house could really cut your electricity costs. No matter what type of lighting you are using, always turn the lights off when you leave a room. Nowadays, Light Emitting Diode (LED) light panel are available in the market, LED is 50% less consume of electricity than CFL and 100,000 hours capable in service life.


In most cases, over charging of cell phones and gadget will reduce your battery life span. Empty and full charge battery are consume in equal quantity of electric power. Be aware for overcharging of your cell phone and gadget, because may result to explode your battery and sometimes it will cause by death.

D. Efficient use of electric stove.

There are a few easy ways to save energy when cooking which can also speed up the amount of time you spend over a hot stove. Always use the correct size pan, and when heating water only use the amount you need so the electricity is not burning unnecessarily to heat the excess.

E. Put your refrigerator in a dry and cool area.

The location of your refrigerator can make a difference in how energy efficient it is. Make sure it is out of direct sunlight and not close to the oven. It is best to keep it against an outside wall so that the heat it generates can escape easily, and always make sure that there is a few inches space all around the refrigerator so that air can circulate. Make sure you defrost your refrigerator on a regular basis or whenever necessary. An iced up freezer will make the compressor work harder, therefore wasting more energy than needed. Only set your refrigerator to as cold as you need it, and avoid keeping the door open for long periods of time as the more cold air that escapes, the harder the compressor has to work. You should check the seal regularly as well as if it is damaged then cold air will be escaping also. You should never put warm or hot food into the fridge as this will make the fridge work extra hard to try and keep it cold; always allow food to cool down first. Another good tip is to defrost frozen food in the fridge as this helps to keep it cool as it thaws.

F. Be an effective buyer.

When you buy new appliances, do check their energy ratings as they can still vary widely. The lower the wattage the lesser it consumes electricity. If particularly environmentally conscious, you should also weigh up if getting rid of an old appliance that's functioning perfectly for the sake of saving electricity is worth it in comparison to the resources used in making a new appliance. At the very least, don't dump the old appliance, repurpose it (refrigerators make for great storage spaces!) or give it away to someone who may be able to use.

1 comment:

  1. mindanao is the GENERATOR capital of the philippines until 2016