By Victor Saulon | BusinessWorld

 

THE Philippines should diversify and modernize its sources of electricity to achieve the kind of uninterrupted power supply Taiwan has attained, according to officials of power generation companies from the Philippines and Taiwan.

“Here we don’t usually experience brownouts, blackouts or whatever because if ever we encounter some unusual natural disaster like earthquakes we don’t restrict usage of electricity,” Ru-Chin Chou, deputy plant general manager of Taiwan Power Co.’s Lin Kou thermal power plant, told reporters when asked about how his industry deals with power interruptions.

He was briefing reporters from the Philippines in New Taipei City this week. He said unscheduled shutdowns are a rarity in Taiwan.

He added power interruptions are an occasion for “all politicians (to) step down.”

Taiwan Power, like all of the country’s power generators, is state-owned. It has 11 power plants in Taiwan, including three in remote islands.

The power plants in Lin Kou in northern Taiwan and Talin in the south use an ultra-supercritical boiler, the most advanced technology that significantly reduces carbon emissions.

Some of the other plants using high-emitting boilers are either up for upgrade or to be expanded using combined-cycle technology or one that is not limited to just coal as fuel.

“I just hope that the Philippines will follow the example of Taiwan in terms of modernizing power generation,” Litz M. Santana, Meralco PowerGen Corp. (MGen) vice-president for external affairs, said.

MGen has plans to build the country’s first ultra-supercritical plant in Atimonan, Quezon although it has yet to close a power supply agreement with a distribution utility.

“We need energy security by providing stable, reliable power supply, and how do we do it? By having a balanced mix of power supply coming from coal… you have to combat questions of carbon emission, you have to improve the technology like ultra-supercritical, which is already being used in most countries in Asia,” Ms. Santana said.

MGen also has aspirations to complete a solar farm, a wind power facility and is looking into a gas project.

“If you only rely on one technology or one fuel like gas, how will you have secure energy,” she said.