NGCP to file for new feasibility study on grid interconnection

by Myrna Velasco – November 23, 2015

from Manila Bulletin

Transmission firm National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) will seek fresh round of regulatory approval on its proposed alternative route to link up Visayas and Mindanao grids.

Department of Energy (DOE) acting assistant secretary Patrick Aquino has stipulated that the new filing with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for a new feasibility study on Negros-Zamboanga Interconnection Project (NZIP) is already being firmed up by NGCP.

He stressed that the original plan of Visayas-Mindanao transmission link-up via Leyte had some technical hurdles because of the very deep trench that the project may traverse. Because of that, it has been noted that the project may require trench plunge of as deep as 34 kilometers that could then bloat the project’s funding.

From a preliminary cost estimate of P24-P25 billion, it was stipulated that the cost for Leyte-Mindanao Interconnection Project (LMIP) may jack up to P34 billion.

The targeted completion of the LMIP should have been 2018, but with the propounded new feasibility study, project timeframes are also expected to move.

Both NZIP and LMIP have been integrated in the Mindanao System Power Development Plan – so the transmission operator could have its ready alternative on the planned grid link-up.

With the NZIP study, the NGCP will have to evaluate the technical parameters of the two grids’ linkage as well as re-assess the project’s cost.

The link-up of the Visayas power system to Mindanao is seen as the last step to the country’s long term goal of fully connecting all three major power grids.

Luzon and Visayas grids are already interconnected and such set-up has been enabling the sharing of power capacities – and had been seen beneficial especially during critical supply months at either grids.