ERC okays Subic coal plant’s transmission connection

by Myrna Velasco, 16 June 2015
from Manila Bulletin

After making its way through legal hurdles on its implementation, the 600-megawatt Subic coal-fired power facility has gained another milestone with regulatory approval on its connection to the power grid.

 The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) gave its go-signal to the P1.167 billion dedicated point-to-point facility that will underpin the plant’s wheeling of capacity to the Luzon grid upon its commercial operation in 2017.The plant will connect to the system of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) via the proposed Castillejos-Hermosa 500 kilovolt transmission line which will also be its connection point. The facility will have associated line of roughly 24 kilometers that will be linked through 230-kilovolt double circuit conductors.“Tapping into NGCP’s proposed Castillejos-Hermosa 500kV line is the most viable and best option to connect RPE’s (Redondo Peninsula Energy’s) generating units to the Luzon grid.”The  company has explored other options of grid connection but under the other recommended schemes, it found “significant schedule risk associated with securing rights of way” because of RPE’s lack of eminent domain powers.

The regulatory body has emphasized that “the contract for the supply of materials for the proposed project will be assigned to qualified suppliers and contractors following a competitive bidding and selection process.”

Project funding, it was noted, will be sourced through equity and loan of the corporate sponsors led by Meralco PowerGen, the affiliate firm of power utility giant Manila Electric Company.

The industry regulator has been apprised that “the cost estimates were based on a per unit cost estimate of the transmission line pre-engineering contractor for the first 8.0 kilometers of the transmission line.”

In the ERC approval, it directed that NGCP “shall operate the dedicated point-to-point transmission facilities subject to applicable charges.”

Project developer RPE was similarly ordered to develop and construct the connection facilities in accordance with system impact study (SIS) and feasibility study requirements “so as not to result in the degradation of NGCP’s transmission system.”

Being designed as a dedicated facility, it was noted that the transmission asset must be used solely by the Subic plant and once it is utilized by other facilities, the ownership will be automatically transferred to the country’s transmission network operator.

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