NGCP seeks new interconnection route for Visayas, Mindanao grids

by Danessa O. Rivera – November 20, 2015

from The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) is proposing a new study on the interconnection route of the Visayas and Mindanao power grids after encountering issues in the eastern side.

In a regulatory filing, the grid operator is seeking clearance from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to conduct a study on the western route for the connection of the Visayas and Mindanao grids.

The project consists of a desktop study, which was completed in July 2014, and hydrographic survey which is targeted for completion in June 2016.

“The total estimated cost of the project is P152,462,757.16 inclusive of reformed value added tax and permit fee,” NGCP said in the filing.

The request came after the grid operator encountered geophysical issues with the three possible options in the eastern route of the interconnection.

The eastern route traverses from Southern Leyte to Surigao del Norte while the western option will run from Cebu-Negros to Zamboanga del Norte.

In late 2011, the ERC approved the grid operator’s application to start a feasibility study for the interconnection project.

NGCP tapped China Electric Power Research Institute (CEPRI) for the design and technical study and Geophysical Services Ltd. – Asia (EGS Asia Ltd.) to conduct the hydrographic survey.

The grid operator conducted the pre-engineering activities, such as transmission route survey, geologic investigations and data gathering.

The eastern route study resulted in three options. However, EGS said it had reservations due to existing geophysical hazards, strong seabed currents, significant quantity of torpedoes and high explosive shells and higher cost.

In its feasibility study, NGCP also raised concerns over the environmental risks in the eastern route.

It also noted the incoming 2,400 megawatt (MW) additional capacity in the Mindanao grid starting 2016 to 2018.

“Thus, as an initial step, and similar to other significant projects in the power industry, NGCP must initially conduct of a feasibility study to determine the best and safest route for the cables and landings of the interconnection,” NGCP said.

The Visayas and Mindanao power interconnection has been proposed since the 1980s.

This interconnection will allow the Luzon and Visayas grids to share excess electricity to Mindanao or vice-versa via submarine cables and overhead transmission lines.