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Visayas-Mindanao interconnection project gets approved by the NGCP

Visayas-Mindanao interconnection project gets approved by the NGCP

National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) Board has approved to pursue the Visayas-Mindanao interconnection project, which could fetch an investment of not less than $300 million.

“NGCP Board has approved or given the go signal on Monday to pursue and to bid for the project,” NGCP independent director Francis Chua told reporters in a chance interview.

According to Chua, NGCP will look for a consultant that will conduct the detailed feasibility study.

“The study will determine how much the investment needed because we have to get the least possible cost to minimize the electricity charge to consumers,” said Chua.

Chua noted that previous studies conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency and Siemens offer different routes for interconnection.

“That is why we have to study and evaluate carefully the most cost efficient way to interconnect the two islands,” he said.

The Department of Energy already said that NGCP is expected to finish its review this month of a study conducted by the National Transmission Corp. (Transco) for the proposed Leyte-Mindanao Interconnection Project (LMIP).

Once done, NGCP will present the study to the DOE and stakeholders.

Chua said that NGCP will commission a detailed FS for the Visayas-Mindanao grid interconnection.

The DOE said the study will identify the definite details — including the specific timeline, location, capacity and cost of the project.

The DOE expects to see the details of the feasibility study within the year.

The LIMP grid involves linking the Visayas and Mindanao grids through 23 kilometers of submarine cables from NGCP’s Leyte in the Visayas and Surigao in Mindanao substations.

The government has already interconnected Luzon and Visayas via the submarine cables. This has allowed the Luzon and Visayas grids to share excess electricity. The Visayas-Mindanao interconnectionis the remaining link to the objective to realize the One Grid, One Nation goal.

The interconnection project has been approved both by the Energy Regulatory Commission and the Department of Energy, he said.

The project, however, failed to take off during the previous administration because of the opposition by some local government units, whose revenue stream could be affected by the entry of a single concessionaire.

“This interconnection will ease the power tension in Mindanao and hope we could put up new power plants in the future so that if there are excess power this should go into the grid for distribution into the grid,” he said.

“This is the vision of NGCP to provide energy to all the islands even the remote areas,” he said.

NGCP is private-run firm that operates the country’s transmission network after it bagged the 25-year concession of TransCo in 2009. The NGCP consortium is composed of the State Grid of China (40%), One Taipan Holdings Corp. (30%) and Calaca High Power Corp. (30%).

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