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House OKs bill allowing natural-gas power plants to use diesel

The House of Representatives has recently approved on third and final reading a bill allowing natural-gas power plants to use diesel as alternate fuel when there is an existing or imminent shortage of electricity.

House Bill 5587, principally authored by chairman of the Committee on Energy and Liberal Party Rep. Reynaldo V. Umali of Oriental Mindoro, amends Paragraph 5.3 of Section 5 of Republic Act (RA) 9367, or the Biofuels Act of 2006, which restricts natural gas power generating plants from using pure or straight-run diesel.

The bill also authorizes the President of the Philippines, upon the recommendation of the Energy secretary, to determine when there is an existing or imminent shortage of electricity as to exempt natural-gas power generating plants from the requirements of Section 5 of RA 9367.

Paragraph 5.3 provides that within three months from the effectivity of this act, a minimum of 1-percent biodiesel, by volume shall be blended into all diesel-engine fuels sold in the country, provided that the biodiesel blend conforms to Philippine National Standards for biodiesel.

In March the Malampaya natural- gas power plant in Palawan had to undergo a monthlong maintenance work.

During the shutdown, Umali said Malampaya was not able to fuel the three power plants which supply half of Luzon’s electricity needs. The three power plants are the 1200-megawatt (MW) Ilijan power plant; the1000-MW Santa Rita, and 50-MW San Lorenzo power plants, all located in the province of Batangas.

The shutdown forced the three power plants to shift from natural gas to expensive liquid fuel to continue operations, causing electricity rates to go up. The Santa Rita and San Lorenzo plants shifted to condensate, while Ilijan used biodiesel, the lawmaker said.

“Power plants, which would use biodiesel, would have a reduced limited capacity due to lower combustion of biodiesel. This would further deplete the energy supply from power plants like these three,” Umali said.

To prevent a power outage, especially during periods of natural gas shortages, Umali added that natural gas power plants in the country should be allowed to run on diesel fuel.

“To achieve this objective, an amendment to Section 5 of RA 9367 that would exempt the Ilijan power plant and other similarly situated power-generation plants in the country from compliance with the minimum biodiesel blend prescribed therein is needed,” he said.

 

Source: Busniess Mirrior

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