by Greg G. Deligero
The operation of new malls now under construction in Davao City will result in a huge demand for power supply, according to Manuel M. Orig, first vice president for Mindanao affairs of the Aboitiz Power Corporation, in a presentation to reporters last week.
“With the operations of these malls, the demand for power will increase to more than 300 megawatts,” Orig said, adding that the current demand is already 290 MW.
SM Prime Holdings, the largest mall operator in the Philippines, is now constructing SM City Lanang or SM City North Davao. With a gross floor area of 175,000 sq.m., it is twice the size of the existing SM City Davao in the Matina-Ecoland area.
A similar project, the Abreeza Mall of Ayala Group of Companies and Anflocor Group of Companies, is expected to open this year along J.P. Laurel Avenue. The 10-hectare Abreeza is a mixed-use development project featuring a shopping mall, hotel, residential and commercial lots and a big space for business process outsourcing (BPO) locators.
The Gokongwei-owned Robinsons will infuse investment worth P800 million to put up a separate four-storey commercial building inside a 10-hectare property in Lanang.
Orig said Davao City registered an average annual growth of more than 6%, which is higher than Mindanao’s 5.76% annual growth.
Orig warned that Davao City “will be faced with a huge power crisis, unless new plants are built in southern Mindanao to cover the shortfall between supply and demand.”
“Davao City is facing a precarious power supply situation. Only 20% of the Mindanao grid’s dependable capacity is produced by power plants in southern Mindanao. Being the biggest user of power in Mindanao, it is best that Davao City build sufficient power plants to ensure a stable energy supply,” Orig said.
Aboitiz Power Corporation has a proposal before the City Council to build a coal power plant on a 52-hectare property straddling barangay Binugao, Toril in Davao City and Barangay Inawayan in the municipality of Sta. Cruz.
The P25-billion project is expected to generate 300 MW power supply.
He said that with the coal power plant in Davao City, there is no need to build new and long transmission lines to deliver power from the source “because the source is already in Davao City itself.”
What will be needed, he said, is merely to build “short transmission lines” to connect the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) plant to the Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC).
“This means Davao consumers would not have to pay for the transmission cost. This will have another significant impact on electricity rates,” Orig said, adding that Mindanao’s heavy dependence on hydropower “makes us vulnerable to weather conditions.”
“Generating power with the use of coal will significantly reduce our dependence on hydropower,” he said, adding that while hydropower will remain a vital component of Mindanao’s generation mix, there are only few, if any, large hydropower sites available for development like the Agus and Pulangi hydro electric plants.