Demand for coal rises with more power firms

By JADE LOPEZ, Cebu Gold Star Daily Reporter

THE Department of Energy (DoE) is projecting the demand for coal in the country to reach some 16-million metric tons (MT) by 2014 with the entry of power generation plants in the next two to three years.

Data from the DoE revealed that between 2008 to 2014, demand for coal has increased by more than 500,000 MT per year. By the time 2009 comes to a close, coal orders nationwide is seen to touch the 14-million MT level, from the 13-million MT it posted in 2008.

“Coal will become a very valuable commodity in the coming years as among the major sources of fossil fuels used by power generation plants,” said DoE Senior Science Specialist Ronaldo Pendor.

Pendor pointed out that coal consumption in 2007 was at 10.2-million MT, with power generation firms eating up 73.67 percent of the share at 7.5-million MT. This was followed by cement companies with 2.2-million MT, and industrial firms at 449,701 MT.

Semirara Island, in Antique accounted for 3.5-million MT in coal production in 2007, which totaled 3.74-million MT, or 93.59 percent market share. In the Visayas, total coal production in Cebu was at 15, 438 MT and Negros with 1, 259 MT.

Coal importation in 2007 was dominated by the Indonesian market at 5.6-million MT, followed by China (1.04-million MT), Vietnam (473,032 MT), and Australia (650,000 MT).

Pendor explained the Philippines has to source out coal from countries like Indonesia whose coal component is “superior” than those found here.

Coal resources found in the country include lignite coal, hard coal, and sub-bituminous coal.

DoE 2007 data also showed that the country’s total coal reserves is at 2.4-billion MT, with positive reserves at 310-million MT and total mine bale reserves at 329-million MT.

Cebu, in particular, showed coal reserves of 165-million MT, 6.9-million MT of positive reserves and 7-million MT of mineable reserves.

Pendor said the entry of more power generation firms in the next two to three years is seen to drive the demand for coal as a source for fossil fuel.

In Cebu, power consortium Cebu Energy Development Corp., composed of the Aboitiz Power Corporation, Formosa Holdings Inc., Global Business Power Corporation and Vivant Power Corporation, is now fast tracking the development of a 246-megawatts (MW) coal-fired power plant in Toledo City, Cebu. The plant is said to utilize some 300,000 MT of coal per month.

The first of the three 82-MW unit is expected to be operational by February 2010, which would address the supply and reliability problems of Cebu’s power industry.

Pendor also cited potential areas for coal mine-mouth power plants are found in Cagayan Valley for a 200-MW plant, Isabela (100-MW), Semirara, Antique (300-MW), and Sultan Kudarat (200-MW).

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