NGCP now expects unified power grid by 2020

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The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) office in Quezon City — BW FILE PHOTO

NATIONAL GRID Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) is targeting a unified nationwide grid by 2020 through the nearly P52-billion Mindanao-Visayas interconection project (MVIP), it said on Thursday.

“With One Grid 2020, we envision a strong, unified power transmission network that can meet the country’s future power needs,” said NGCP in a statement.

The privately owned company’s target completion year is ahead of the timeline it announced in September when it projected a 46-month period for the project. The project’s estimated cost is P51.6967 billion.

NGCP was granted provisional authority to implement the project in an order from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on July 11, 2017.

“With a unified national grid, power transmission services in the country will be more reliable as there will be less power interruptions nationwide due to the sharing of local energy resources. Reliable electricity transmission, in turn, could help boost investments, infrastructure development, and commerce in the country,” said NGCP.

NGCP said after five years of research and planning, the ERC had authorized the grid operator to start building MVIP in 2017, with the project set to be completed by December 2020.

The country harnesses most of its electricity from the interconnected Luzon and Visayas grids, which were linked in 1998 and uses a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) system with a 440-megawatt (MW) capacity.

“Once the MVIP is complete by 2020, it will be using an HVDC system with a 450-MW initial capacity,” NGCP said.

The company said MVIP will use 184 circuit-kilometers of submarine cable, plus 526 circuit-kilometers of overhead wires, to connect Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte to Santander, Cebu using HVDC submarine cable, which will transmit energy efficiently between Visayas and Mindanao with minimal loss.

“This will support the national government’s vision to interconnect the major power grids, which would then help improve the overall power supply security of the country through the sharing of reserves,” NGCP said.

“This will also support the overall operations of the Philippine electricity market by allowing the optimization of all available energy sources, including the additional generation capacities that will be implemented in Visayas and Mindanao,” it added.

The MVIP is the first project to qualify as an energy project of national significance (EPNS) as declared by the Department of Energy on May 8, 2018 under Executive Order No. 30.

As an EPNS, the issuance of regulatory and documentary requirements by different local and national government agencies will be expedited. — Victor V. Saulon