By Myrna M. Velasco – April 21, 2018, 10:01 PM
from Manila Bulletin
It’s final – that the sole and ultimate mandate to undertake the P52-billion Visayas-Mindanao Interconnection Project (VMIP) will now just be in the court of private concessionaire firm National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).
Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi told reporters that state-run National Transmission Corporation (TransCo) must already be out of the equation because this could just hobble the project’s implementation.
“That shall already be NGCP because they already had filing with the ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission),” the energy chief said.
He explained that TransCo will need to break free from this venture soon, “because if not, it will just delay the project.”
Cusi explained the only intention of TransCo previously was to dangle the use of the Malampaya fund for the project – since it could have been an easier channel, it being a government corporation; and the resulting tariff may also be cheaper if cost recovery on capital expense will no longer be done.
Nevertheless, with the VMIP now advancing in NGCP’s hands, Cusi emphasized that he already directed the state-run firm to drop it from its area of focus.
Additionally, Cusi is appealing to the ERC to now fast-track regulatory approvals on the project, chiefly on the needed capital expenditures (capex) that shall be utilized for the power grids link-up.
ERC previously indicated that aside from the go-signal it had given on the VMIP feasibility study, NGCP will also need to apply separately on the capex for the grid interconnection project.
The transmission firm has so far proposed a multi-year capital outlay for the VMIP: P9.705 billion in 2018; P35.383 billion in 2019; P1.725 billion in 2020; and P4.882 billion in 2021.
At its targeted completion in year 2020, this will realize the long-term vision of the country to have a single, connected national grid – one that had been an elusive ambition for several decades.
The power grids link-up in particular is likewise seen as a viable support to the setting up of Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) in Mindanao; as well as in managing the variable renewable energy (VRE) technologies in their integration into the electricity system.