EFFECTS OF EL NIÑO TO HYDROPOWER GENERATION
The country is starting to experience the effects of El Niño phenomenon, particularly, to hydropower generation.
“This week, I will meet the energy community, energy stakeholders, to talk about among others El Niño. We know hydropower is dependent on water supply. Pag walang ulan, may El Niño, may problema,” said Department of Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes at a press briefing.
“Hydropower plants will have to be monitored. We have to see to it that they are operating and that they are delivering the right amount of power given the constraint imposed on the amount of water that will be available to them," he added.
According to the DOE, Mindanao’s hydro-power supply reached the critical period in 2009 while it can be recalled that Metro Manila and some parts of Luzon experienced rotating brownouts last week after a unit of the 600-megawatt (MW) Sual coal-fired plant Pangasinan shut down due to feedwater pump problems.
“It was the consensus that the causes of the brownouts were the scheduled maintenance shutdowns and the unexpected outages of major generating plants specifically the Sual Unit 1, the 620-MW combined-cycle Limay Plant in Bataan, and the 300-MW coal-fired Calaca unit in Batangas," Secretary Reyes, explained.
The El Niño phenomenon n El Niño is a temporary change in the climate of the Pacific ocean, in the region around the equator. The phenomenon is characterized by abnormalities being experienced in parts of the world such as the warming of South America, torrential rains in North America, and drought in Southeast Asia nd Australia.
Among the areas in the country that are susceptible in El Nino are Ilocos Sur, Ilocs Norte, La Union, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Isabela, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Cavite, Rizal, Occidental Mindoro, Palawan, Capiz, Ilo-Ilo, Negros occidental and other places like Davao and Zamboanga.
Since the country’s hydro-electric power plants derive energy from water , power generation is likely to suffer if the dry episode brought by El Nino continues.
According to SN Aboitiz which manages the Magat Dam (Philstar) there can be a power shortage if the water level at the dam will continue to drop. The Magat Dam is the second largest power contributor in Luzon among other hydro-electric power plants such as the San Roque Dam in Pangasinan, Binga Dam in Benguet, Angat Dam in Bulacan and Pantabangan Dam in Nueva Ecija.
“Malaki ang maitutulong nating mamamayan upang mabawasan ang nararamdamang epekto ng El Niño kahit sa ating munting mga paraan. Magtipid tayo sa paggamit ng tubig at kuryente. Patayin o isara ang mga switch ng tubig at ilaw kapag hindi ginagagamit sapagkat habang walang ulan ay patuloy nating mararamdaman ang epekto ng tag-tuyot,” said Mayor James “Bong” Gordon Jr.