Energy executives expect the country's power supply to be ample next year, but will likely be tight especially during summer amid higher demand.

'It's still going to be tight because there will be no new plants, except maybe the Excellent plant of San Miguel that's scheduled to be completed by the end of next year so its entry will still be in 2025,' Manila Electric Co. chairman and and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan said.

San Miguel, through Excellent Energy Resources Inc., is constructing a 1,300-megawatt (MW) LNG combined cycle plant in Batangas City.

'It's always good to have surplus power. If you don't have surplus capacity you will face bouts of tightness which we don't want to see.

As a distributor, we want to see good margins of supply to demand,' Pangilinan said.

ACEN Corp. president and CEO Eric Francia, for his part, said that there should be adequate additional supply for the country next year to address the expected five to six percent economic growth.

'But it depends on the execution,' Francia said.

The ACEN executive said on top of the LNG power plant in Batangas which San Miguel is developing, the Ramon Ang-led group is also building a few hundred megawatts of coal plants, providing the country with more than 2,000 MW of highly dependable thermal plants.

'So hopefully that gets executed in due course,' he said.

On the renewable front, Francia said the Aboitiz Group is also building a number of solar and wind projects.

In the case of ACEN, he said the listed energy platform of the Ayala group is developing 1,100 MW of solar and wind capacities, of which 700 MW are expected to be operational in the next three to six months.

'And we're not the only ones building. So I think in the short term, there is no need to panic, it's going to be more of the same. I'm not saying that will be comfortable because the situation today is tight. Most likely we won't have oversupply. It's going to be tight especially during summer,' Francia said.

'We have those periodic red alerts, yellow alerts, or a few load shedding and rotating brownouts, But nothing like the 1990s. Hopefully not. The challenge I think is looking beyond 2024, 2025 because it takes time to build thermal plants. It takes time to build large scale renewable plants,' he said.

Aboitiz Power Corp. president and CEO Emmanuel Rubio also believes the country will have adequate supply for 2024, but the question is how much electricity is going to cost.

'Maybe there will be times when diesel plants will be dispatched, but it's good that Ilijan is now running unlike in early 2022,' he said.

Given the expected continued economic growth for the country, Rubio also sees an increase in demand of around 600 to 650 MW for 2024.

'The forecast is El Niño, (so it is) still going to be tight especially during summer, but I think we will have ample supply,' he said.

However, Rubio said generation is only one part of the energy equation, citing also the importance of improving the country's transmission capabilities.

'There's more to it than just generating energy. We also need to get the energy to the consumers,' he said.

The Department of Energy (DOE) earlier said the country would need to hike its power supply by 5.2 percent starting next year to enable the economy to expand by at least 6.5 percent until 2028.

'To support an annual economic growth of 6.5 percent or higher from 2024 to 2028 requires the corresponding growth in power supply of about 5.2 percent per year until 2028,' Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said.

Lotilla said sustaining such power supply requirement would take into consideration the transition to a low carbon future.

'The growth in power supply will therefore be driven by clean and indigenous power. Our strategy would include increasing cleaner sources of energy by achieving the renewable energy targets of 35 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2040,' he said.

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