National Power Corporation (Napcor) reached 39,741 gigawatt-hours (GWh) in 2008, or only 1.59% lower than its 2007 output of 40,382 GWh. The lower electricity production was attained despite the sale of the 600-megawatt (MW)Masinloc coal-fired power plant and the 175-MW Ambuklao-Binga hydroelectric power plant in 2007, and their subsequent turn-over to their new owners last year.

In a report, Napcor’s Power Economics Department also said that geothermal power plants accounted for 26.98% of total generation, slightly higher than the 2007 figure of 25.07%. Volume-wise, the production of Napcor geothermal plants increased year-on-year from 10,124 GWh to 10,723 GWh. A gigawatt-hour is equivalent to one million kilowatt-hours.

Coal-fired plants came in a close second with a 26.48% share in the generation mix, down from 31.11% in 2007. With the Masinloc plant gone, the remaining coal-fired generating facilities were able to produce 10,525 GWh, considerably lower than their 2007 output of 12,563 GWh.

The share of natural gas in the generation mix improved year-on-year from 19.31% to 20.05%. In terms of volume, the natural gas-fired power plants produced 7,968 GWh in 2008, up from 7,800 GWh in 2007.

Similarly, the share of hydroelectric power plants rose from 16.41% or 6,625 GWh in 2007, to 18.65% or 7,411 GWh in 2008. Finally, Napcor was able to further minimize the use of its oil-based power plants, whose share in the generation mix shrunk year-on-year from 8.10% to 7.84%.

On a per-region basis, Luzon accounted for the biggest share of the gross generation at 64.68% or 25,705 GWh. Mindanao contributed 19.72% or 7,838 GWh, while the Visayas grid reported a 15.60% share or 6,198 GWh. In 2003, the contribution of the regions stood at 66.22% or 26,741 GWh for Luzon; 19.15% or 7,732 GWh for Mindanao; and 14.63% or 5,908 GWh for the Visayas region.

The generation mix refers to the proportion of the different fuel types that Napcor uses to run its power plants. Even before oil prices shot up to more than $100 per barrel in 2008, the company had already been shifting its fuel utilization from thermal fuels like diesel and fuel oil to indigenous fuels like natural gas, hydro and geothermal in order to reduce the country’s dependence on imported oil and at the same time to help protect the environment.

Masinloc plant was sold to the Masinloc Power Partners Co. Ltd. for $930 million, while SN Aboitiz Power Hydro Inc. bought Ambuklao-Binga for $325 million.