By Carmelito Q. Francisco
DAVAO CITY — The Mindanao-Visayas power grid interconnection project is expected to pave the way for the pilot testing of the Philippines’ link to the energy network within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The proposed ASEAN power grid is a component of the Master Plan for ASEAN Connectivity (MPAC).
“Mindanao seeks to pilot the country’s integration into the ASEAN power grid,” Romeo M. Montenegro, a deputy executive director who is in charge of power development at the Mindanao Development Authority, told BusinessWorld.
This will be undertaken through the Borneo-Mindanao Power Interconnection as proposed under the sub-grouping Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippine-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).
Power interconnection facilities “such as submarine cable” will be set up between Mindanao and the Malaysian part of Borneo.
“Therefore, regional economic integration is not just confined to goods and services but also includes cross-border trade of electricity to achieve diversification,” Mr. Montenegro said.
Mr. Montenegro said continuing discussions on power sector issues within the BIMP-EAGA and the ASEAN, such as the Philippines’ higher rates due to the absence of energy subsidies, will eventually make the country a capable participant in the industry.
The P52-billion Mindanao-Visayas interconnection project will connect the southern to the central islands, which are already linked to Luzon.
In October, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) broke ground on both landing sites of the 92-kilometer submarine cable project — in Dapitan City on the Mindanao side, and Santander, Cebu on the Visayan end.
The project is designed to carry about 450 megawatts of power between the two grids.