Asingle grid would improve the stability of power supply and help boost investments in power plant projects in the Philippines by expanding market access to the entire Philippines.
Lawyer Cynthia Alabanza, spokesperson and head of corporate communication of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), said the single grid will be realized upon the completion of the P51.60-billion Mindanao Visayas Interconnection Project (MVIP).
Alabanza explained that NGCP considered MVIP as one of its biggest project. “This project is very critical to power supply stability and transmission services supply stability because it will open up the market for both Visayas and Mindanao in terms of power supply,” she pointed out.
Once the MVIP is completed, it will then be connected to the Luzon grid, which is now interconnected to the Visayas grid.
The NGCP has started the implementation of the interconnection project, which will have a total length of 355 kilometers, including 92 kilometers for the submarine cable and the rest comprising of 263 kilometers of transmission lines.
On the Mindanao side, the transmission will start in Barangay Lala, Pagadian City in Zamboanga del Sur and end in Dapitan City in Zamboanga del Norte.
On the Visayas side, it will be done in Cebu via a overhead transmission lines that will begin in the southern tip town of Santander and end in the southwestern municipality of Dumanjug.
The Pagadian to Dumanjug line will have a transfer capacity of 450 megawatts and a voltage level of 350 kV.
However, NGCP would need the support of the local government executives where the overhead transmission lines will be located for easier procurement of right way, said Alabanza.
She stressed that NGCP has very limited window to complete the project on time. The MVIP is scheduled for completion in December 2020.
Michael Baylosis, supervisor for the Visayas Transmission System Planning, disclosed that NGCP has to complete its right of way acquisitions by August this year and environment requirements by December 2018.
The schedule for the start of the construction has been set in January next year.
At the same time, Alabanza said interconnection of the three major island grids should result in lower power costs.
She noted that the interconnection would be widening the market and would create competition among power producers.
For example, Mindanao producers would have to bring down their prices if they have to compete with the Luzon and Visayas power producers, Alabanza pointed out.
Also, she added that a single grid would encourage more investments in the power plants since the market would be wider.
NGCP’s ongoing projects include the Cebu-Negros-Panay 230 kV stage 3, which is up for completion in December 2020; the New Naga (Colon) Substation project and the Cebu-Lapulapu 230 kV transmission line projects.