NGCP study shows feasibility of VisMin grid interconnection

By Lenie Lectura – February 1, 2017

from Business Mirror

THE National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) on Wednesday released the results of a study that will interconnect the Visayas and Mindanao grids.

“The NGCP is pleased to report we already finished the hydrographic survey that will determine the route of the Visayas-Mindanao Interconnection Project. With this development, we now have a clearer plan on the project’s implementation. Power-resource sharing between the country’s major islands will now become a reality,” the grid operator said.

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.

Previous feasibility studies conducted by the National Power Corp., one dating back to as early as 1984, were deferred by the government, then the grid operator.  An earlier study conducted by NGCP revealed eastern routes as unsuitable for submarine- cable ground laying because of a significant quantity of live ordinance—torpedoes and high explosive shells—from the Battle of Surigao in 1944, an underwater volcano, fault lines and seismic hazards, such as unstable rock slabs that can cause landslips and tsunamis.

With the hydrographic survey result, the NGCP will now proceed with the preparation of a conceptual design, detailed cost estimate and update of system-simulation study using the Cebu-Dipolog route, in order to complete documents needed when it filed its application before the Energy Regulatory Commission in April this year.

Inland and route surveys for substations and associated overhead transmission lines will also coincide with the preparation of documents. Barring unforeseen circumstances and unavoidable delays, the project is estimated to be completed by December 2020.

“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 we will be able to complete this project on time,” the company said.

The NGCP is a privately owned corporation in charge of operating, maintaining and developing the country’s power grid. It transmits high-voltage electricity through “power superhighways” that include the interconnected system of transmission lines, towers, substations and related assets.

The consortium, which holds the 25-year concession contract to operate the country’s power-transmission network, is comprised of Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp., led by Henry T. Sy Jr.; Calaca High Power Corp., led by Robert G. Coyiuto Jr.; and the State Grid Corp. of China as technical partner.