NGCP sets major network upgrade

By Lenie Lectura – March 13, 2017

from Business Mirror

The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) announced it will undertake several major facility-improvement programs this year to ensure reliable transmission of power.

“NGCP has built 2,472 circuit-kilometers [ct  km] of transmission lines since we took over. This year 24 transmission projects are set to be completed, 26 are in the middle of construction and 22 projects will commence. In total, that’s an additional 674.9  ct km of lines to be added to the country’s transmission network for 2017 alone,” the company said on Monday.

Among the projects NGCP is pursuing are the Luzon 500-kilovolt (kV) backbone, to accommodate incoming generating plants; the Cebu-Negros-Panay backbone, to improve power sharing between the major islands; and the Mindanao 230-kV backbone, to reinforce the Mindanao grid as new plants come online.

“Another aspect of NGCP’s commitment is to ensure that all its facilities are well-maintained and reliable. Our continuous auditing of existing assets has resulted in a preventive replacement program designed to mitigate any unplanned transmission outages,” it said.

The program outlines the replacement of aging towers and poles and substation equipment over the next four years.

For this year, the grid operator is set to replace 2,134 wood poles considered grid facilities with steel structures. These wooden poles were parts of the aging transmission facilities NGCP inherited from National Transmission Corp. (Transco)  when it took over as
concessionaire in 2009.

NGCP is also set to replace an additional 417 wood poles—considered residual subtransmission assets—this year. Facilities that serve to strengthen the network as a whole are considered grid facilities, while those that serve a single entity or user, whether that user is a power plant, a distribution utility or directly connected industrial consumer, is considered a subtransmission asset.

Since 2009, NGCP has installed a total of 13,200 megaVolt-amperes (MVA) of substation capacity.  Over 30 transformers in substations across the country are also set to be replaced between 2017 and 2019.

Nine transformers with 300 MVA, 100 MVA and 50 MVA ratings located in critical areas, such as Las Piñas, San Jose and Naga, among others, are expected to be replaced this year alone.

“That’s an additional 1,480 MVA in substation capacity over the next three years,” NGCP said.

“When we took over, it was very clear to us that upgrading and improving the failing and aging facilities we inherited from Transco was top priority.

At the time this concession was bid out, many of the transmission facilities already reached, or were about to reach its maximum economic life. It was very clear to us that government could no longer continue to fund the massive transmission-related projects needed to ensure that the transmission facilities remained relevant, up to date, and able to address the pressing needs of a growing economy,” the company said.