ERC approves Visayas-Mindanao grid interconnection deal
MANILA, Philippines – Energy-resource sharing between the Philippines' major islands will soon be realized after the approval of the P52-billion grid interconnection project of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on Tuesday, September 5, said it issued a provisional authority allowing the NGCP to proceed with its Visayas-Mindanao Interconnection Project, subject to conditions.
These conditions are:
- The proposed project should be subject to optimization based on its actual use and/or implementation during the reset process for the next regulatory period.
- The NGCP must conduct competitive bidding for the purchase of major materials in the implementation of the project.
- The NGCP should pay the permit fee.
The project involves the interconnection of the Visayas and Mindanao via Cebu and Zamboanga.
The converter stations in the Visayas and Mindanao will be located in Sibonga, Cebu and Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur, respectively. The project is estimated to be completed in 46 months.
"The provisional approval granted to NGCP to implement the Visayas-Mindanao Interconnection Project will enable power supply importations among the Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao grids. For instance, the deficiency of supply in Visayas may be supplied by importing power from Luzon or Mindanao," ERC officer-in-charge Alfredo Non said in a statement.
"Hence, this Visayas-Mindanao interconnection will help address the insufficient power supply and will also help optimize the available power supply in the Philippine Grid," Non added. (READ: ERC urged to reject Meralco's 7 coal power plants)
Single national grid
The Visayas-Mindanao interconnection deal is in support of the government's vision to interconnect the major grids into a single national grid, which is expected to help improve the overall security of power supply as sharing of reserves would become possible.
It also aims to reinforce the operation of the electricity market by maximizing the use of available energy resources and additional generation capacities in the Visayas and Mindanao.
An NGCP-commissioned hydrographic survey conducted in 2016 showed that a route along the Philippines' western seaboard "beginning in Cebu and terminating in Dipolog" is viable for the planned interconnection of 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 through the NGCP's Naga-Ormoc High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) line. – Rappler.com