ERC OKs P52-billion VisMin grid interconnection project

By Lenie Lectura – September 5, 2017

from Business Mirror

In Photo: Linemen check this power grid to maintain its condition and avoid power disruption.

Power-resource sharing between the country’s major islands will soon become a reality, following the regulators’ approval of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) P52-billion grid interconnection project proposal.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on Wednesday said it issued a provisional authority to the NGCP to proceed with its Visayas-Mindanao Interconnection Project with certain conditions.

For one, the proposed project shall be subject to optimization based on its actual use and/or implementation during the reset process for the next regulatory period; the NGCP is required to conduct competitive bidding for the purchase of major materials in the implementation of the project and NGCP’s payment of the permit fee.

The project involves the interconnection of the Visayas and Mindanao via Cebu and Zamboanga. The converter stations in the Visayas and Mindanao will be in Sibonga, Cebu, and Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur, respectively. The project is estimated to be completed in 46 months.

“The provisional approval granted to NGCP to implement the Visayas-Mindanao Interconnection Project will enable power-supply importations among the Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao grids. For instance, the deficiency of supply in Visayas may be supplied by importing power from Luzon or Mindanao. Hence, this Visayas-Mindanao Interconnection will help address the insufficient power supply and will also help optimize the available power supply in the Philippine grid,” ERC Officer in Charge  Alfredo J. Non said.

A news statement issued by the NGCP said it is “eager to begin the project as we intend to make good on our commitment to president Duterte finish this project by 2020.”

“The interconnection will not only be a major milestone for NGCP, as it finally implements a project that has remained on the government’s drawing board for 3 decades, but it will go a long way into power stability, as it will allow, when completed, power sharing amongst all 3 grids,” the statement added.

The Visayas-Mindanao Interconnection Project is in support of the government’s vision to interconnect the major grids into a single national grid, which is expected to help improve the overall power-supply security in the country, as sharing of reserves will already become possible. The project also aims to reinforce the operation of the electricity market by maximizing the use of available energy resources and additional generation capacities in the Visayas and Mindanao, which include renewable-energy resources.

In an NGCP-commissioned hydrographic survey conducted from September to November 2016, a viable route along the country’s western seaboard, “beginning in Cebu and terminating in Dipolog”, was determined as viable for the implementation of the plans of interconnecting the Visayas and Mindanao grids.

The project is envisioned to be finished by 2020, assuming all regulatory approvals are secured on time.

The Luzon and Visayas grids have long been connected via NGCP’s Naga-Ormoc High Voltage Direct Current line.

“We need the support of the government, the Energy Regulatory Commission, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the different local government units the project will traverse, among others, to push this forward. With their full support, we are confident that we will be able to complete this project on time,” NGCP earlier said.