by Lenie Lectura | January 11, 2024| Published by BusinessMirror | READ THE STORY HERE

In a bid to prevent another Panay Island blackout, the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) strongly recommended for more power generation, including energy storage system and renewable energy (RE), and completion of transmission projects.

“Given the recent blackouts in Panay, a reevaluation of the island’s energy mix and grid resilience measures is imperative. This can include exploring advanced energy storage technologies, enhancing grid interconnections, and strategically integrating renewable energy sources to diversify the island’s energy portfolio,” the group said.

ICSC is a climate and energy policy group that promotes climate resilience and low-carbon development. It examined the factors that resulted in the large-scale power outages and highlighted the importance of distributed and flexible power generation in preventing another island-wide blackout.

Since the island is heavily dependent on coal-fired power plants, any disturbance can have disastrous effects on the entire sub-grid.

Thus, ICSC said generation and grid planning must evolve to embrace more distributed sources to ensure grid stability, reducing reliance on a few power plants.

“Through distributed generation, power generation becomes more resilient, less susceptible to single-point failures, and adaptable to variable demand conditions. A diversified mix of energy sources, including renewables and other distributed technologies, can contribute to a more robust and reliable energy infrastructure, leading to more affordable, reliable, and secure power for Filipinos,” it said.

Based on its own evaluation, ICSC said the total system blackout occurred because there was not enough power generation to meet the demand in Panay Island, as all four large coal-fired power plants became unavailable. While the incident was mainly a power generation problem, more issues came up that, if addressed, could have prevented the island-wide blackout.

“Had NGCP implemented manual load dropping in the 2-hour window, to which the red alert status should have been declared in the whole island, rotating power outages could have significantly reduced the load demand requirements in Panay.

If this were the case, even with the subsequent tripping of PEDC 2 (Panay Energy Development Corp.) and PCPC (Palm Concepcion Power Corporation), the remaining power sources would have been able to shoulder the reduced load demand requirements,” said ICSC.

Last January 2, residents of Panay, the sixth largest island in the Philippines covering the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, and Iloilo, and parts of Guimaras experienced large-scale blackouts for four days.

Local governments and business groups from Panay and Guimaras Islands have called for an investigation, demanding accountability from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, Department of Energy, and Energy Regulatory Commission.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said the blackouts resulted in an estimated P2 billion worth of economic losses.

Photo: Patrickroque01, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons