THE PHILIPPINES seeks to finish a project connecting the electricity grids in the central and southern parts of the country by March, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. said on Monday. 

He made the statement at the launch of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) in Mindanao that the government expects to spur investments especially in manufacturing and other energy-intensive industries. 

The Mindanao-Visayas interconnection project, expected to be finished by March, “will benefit the people of Mindanao and the Visayas through the transmission of electric power between these islands,” the Presidential Communications Office said in a statement, citing the president’s speech at the WESM launch in Malacañang. 

The palace said the Mindanao spot market would have a crucial role in the operation of the interconnected grids “as WESM allows efficient transmission and settlement of electricity exchanges.” 

Mr. Marcos said a centralized venue for trading electricity for large-scale buyers and sellers in Mindanao and an “interconnected and interdependent” grid in the country “will not only ensure a level playing field in the competitive energy market but will also provide assurance to investors.” 

“With the integration of the three main grids in the WESM, President Marcos said the country can hopefully achieve its goal of having a joint WESM for the entire nation and of attaining total capacity for the Philippines’ power demands,” the palace said. 

WESM’s commercial operations in the Luzon and Visayas grids started in 2006 and 2010, respectively. 

Mindanao has 4,321 megawatts (MW) of registered capacity, with a peak demand of 2,167 MW. 

With WESM in Mindanao, about 2,000 MW of uncontracted capacities can now be sold in the spot market and dispatched any time, providing supply to distribution utilities, electric cooperatives and other end-users when their contracted power plants are not available, it added. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza