NGCP weighs cost impact of power line interconnections

By Myrna M. Velasco –  January 19, 2017, 10:00 PM

from Manila Bulletin

Private concessionaire firm National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has indicated that it is supporting the studies of its technical partner State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) on power lines interconnection within the Southeast Asian region, but its bigger concern is actually premised more on its cost impact to Filipino consumers.

“We are supporting the conduct of such studies. But our concern is how much would it cost consumers, because if it’s too expensive, then we really have to consider that,” NGCP President Henry T. Sy Jr. has noted.

He emphasized that cost would certainly be an issue because the Philippine power lines could be the farthest that can be linked to the electricity system of the region.

In fact even before jumping into that monumental ambition of linking up ASEAN power grids, NGCP has more pressing agenda to explore the transmission line interconnection for the country’s Visayas and Mindanao power grids.

This has been the recently reiterated mandate given to NGCP, as verbalized to the media by Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi last month. The planned Negros-Zamboanga Interconnection Project (NZIP) is currently under study based on an imprimatur set by the Energy Regulatory Commission.

An earlier interconnection plan via submarine cable from Leyte to Mindanao was abandoned due to cost implications as well as on the challenges of physical interconnections of facilities.

For the ASEAN power grid interconnection, Chinese firm State Grid has noted that it is integrating in its study the possibility of linking Philippine electricity system to the rest of Southeast Asia.

State Grid has palpable grand targets of connecting the world’s power line networks via its Global Energy Interconnection (GEI) initiative that was laid down by its top executives in a gathering of world energy leaders in Houston last year.

It was noted that the GEI proposal “not only depicts a new blueprint for green and low-carbon development of world energy, but also paves a new roadmap for combating climate change.”

The Chinese firm said this undertaking is highly feasible with the deployment of ultra-high voltage (UHV) power grid, smart grid and clean energy technologies.