NGO says RE plants prone to fewer outages than coal-fired facilities

NON-GOVERNMENT organization (NGO) Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) said Thursday that renewable energy (RE) facilities are more reliable than coal-run plants, citing data on outages from the wholesale electricity spot market.

In a virtual briefing, ICSC Energy Transition Advisor Alberto R. Dalusung III said solar, biomass and wind plants have historically registered fewer outage days compared to coal plants.

The claim was based on an analysis of spot market data collected between 2017 and mid-June 2021, which tallied 41 outage days a year for biomass plants, which are within the allowed level of outages set by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

The corresponding numbers for solar plants and wind facilities were 13 days each over the same period.

Mr. Dalusung noted that the unavailability rates and duration of outages for biomass, solar and wind power plants are “significantly lower than that of coal plants.”

Meanwhile, coal-fired plants experienced up to 74 outage days a year, he said. This translates to “high unavailability rates” while “historically failing” to hit the ERC’s prescribed outage limits.

“Coal power plants are not reliable. They exceed ERC thresholds every year. On the other hand, RE power plants are reliable… (and) are not intermittent,” Mr. Dalusung said.

In August, coal accounted for more than half of 54.3% of the power generation mix. Renewables, on the other hand, comprised around 23%. — Angelica Y. Yang

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