Electricity and Water tows Normin’s 5.9% Industry Growth

The Industry Sector in Northern Mindanao (Region 10) grew 5.9 percent in 2017, with the Electricity, Gas and Water Supply Industry Subsector growing the fastest at a robust 13.8 percent.

Data presented  by the Philippine Statistics Authority Region 10 (PSA-10) during its April 26 news conference on the 2017 Report on the Economic Performance of Northern Mindanao also showed the Mining and Quarrying subsector growing 10.5 percent while manufacturing chipped in 5.5 percent, and Construction 2.2 percent. 

PSA-10 Regional Director Ronaldo C. Taghap said the electricity subsector bounced back after a 5.5 percent drop in generation and 6.9 percent constriction in the electricity sales of distribution utilities, which he attributed to the unstable supply of electricity in 2016.

However, the generation sector recovered with an impressive 15.9 percent growth for 2017 as more units of the FDC Misamis Power Corporation coal fired power plant at the Phividec Industrial Estate in Villanueva, and the Minergy Coal facility in Balingasag, both in Misamis Oriental, came online.

Data from the Department of Energy (DOE) shows gross generation rising 16.9 percent to 5,725,434 megawatt hours (MWh) from 2016 when it dropped 5.5 percent to 4,938,017 MWh from 5,224,333 MWh in 2015.

A closer look at the region’s Gross Generation data from 2015-2017 shows that coal fired power plants continued to gain a larger share of the power mix from 42% (2016) to 45% (2017) even as the traditionally renewable energy region hosting the Agus Hydropower Complex reverted to 44% due to favorable weather conditions and distribution utilities continued scaling back from more expensive oil-fired power plants from 11% in 2016 to only 3% by 2017.

Electricity sales of distribution utilities performed even better with an 18.8 percent upsurge to 2,588,983 MWh  in 2017 from 2,178,639 MWh in 2016 (which was a 6.9 percent reduction from 2,340,389 MWh in 2015) as households, industries and commercial establishments took advantage of the readily available power to ramp up previously suppressed expansion plans.

However, transmission sales dropped 8.5 percent to 2,230,470 MWh in 2017 from 2,178,639 MWh as grid operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines turned over many of its 69KVA transmission assets to distribution utilities as mandated under the EPIRA Law and an increasing number of distribution utilities resorted to generators embedded in their franchise areas.

“The decrease in NGCP transmission sales is not really due to disposal by NGCP of its 69-kV lines but due to the increase in generation from power plants (mostly diesel-fueled, but also the small hydro power plants) that are embedded in the distribution systems of the DU’s, which are not transmitted to end-users through NGCP-owned transmission lines,” an industry observer noted.

Growth in the region’s electricity subsector is expected to improve further once two big ticket coal fired power plants starts full operations and nine other renewable energy projects in Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon start operations.

For 2017, DTI 10 records show the FDC Misamis Power Plant at the Phividec Industrial Estate in Villanueva, Misamis Oriental was still continuing construction of its P30-B coal fired power plant, the erstwhile biggest power plant in Mindanao with a total output of 405 megawatts (MW.) 

However, it will be eclipsed by the 552MW GN Power Kauswagan coal fired power plant in Lanao del Norte once the latter starts operations later this year. The USD 2.5-Billion (P12.5-B) power plant is a joint venture of Ayala Corporation and shell company Power Partners Ltd. Co.

DTI-10 records for 2017 show three mini hydro and one solar power plant under construction in Bukidnon with a total investment of P2.15-B. Similarly, four firms have filed for incentives with the Board of Investments Region 10 office for five renewable energy projects, also in Bukidnon including biomass, solar and hydropower plants with a total investment of P5.23-B. 

Besides electricity, the water sector continues to grow as volume of water sales by water utilities and bulk water suppliers continued, growing 5.4 percent from 53,847,718 cubic meters (cu.m.) in 2015 to 56,777,651 cu.m. In 2016, and further, albeit a tad slower at 4.6 percent to 59,422,709 cu.m. In 2017.

(Photo: Power generation in Northern Mindanao is expected to improve further once the first of GNPower Kauswagan 4x138MW coal-fired power generators in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte starts feeding power to the Mindanao Grid later this year. GNPK has close to 400MW of signed contracts with distribution utilities, with the balance to be offered in the Mindanao Wholesale Electricity Market (WESM).)