National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, operator of the country's power transmission lines, is spending P52 billion for the Visayas-Mindanao interconnection project until December 2020.
NGCP, a private consortium led by Henry Sy Jr., commissioned a hydrographic survey from September to November last year which identified the most viable route to link the islands.
The new route, beginning in Cebu and terminating in Dipolog, was determined as viable to interconnect the Visayas and Mindanao grids.
The project, which will unify the three grids including Luzon and allow power sharing, is the biggest and most ambitious transmission line project to be undertaken by the company.
“NGCP can now proceed with next step which includes survey overhead transmission line component. The hydrographic survey has been completed but there is still the overhead line from southern part of Cebu going to center of Cebu which is Naga,” Redi Remoroza, head of National Grid Transmission Planning Department.
The project has three components, including a 92-kilometer submarine cable and overhead lines spanning 214 kilometers.
The Luzon and Visayas grids have long been connected via National Grid’s Naga – Ormoc High Voltage Direct Current line.
An earlier study conducted by NGCP revealed eastern routes as unsuitable for submarine cable ground laying because of a significant quantity of live ordinance – torpedoes and high explosive shells – from the Battle of Surigao in 1944, an underwater volcano, fault lines, and seismic hazards, such as unstable rock slabs that can cause landslips and tsunamis.
NGCP said it would now proceed with the preparation of a conceptual design, detailed cost-estimate, and update of system simulation study using the Cebu-Dipolog route, to complete documents needed for application with the Energy Regulatory Commission by April 2017.
NGCP spokesman Cynthia Perez-Alabanza said the cost was a very rough estimate and could change depending on the project components and ERC approval.
Alabanza asked for the support of the public and its stakeholders for the full and immediate implementation of the project.
“NGCP assures its stakeholders of the company’s dedication to determine the most reliable and cost-efficient path to completion. This is a large undertaking. We want this facility to be state-of-the-art, as well as sturdy enough to last generations. We are considering many factors in the design and implementation of the project, including changing weather conditions. Ensuring the quality and reliability of power transmission services to both Visayas and Mindanao customers is of paramount importance,” the company said in a separate statement.
“We need the support of the government, the Energy Regulatory Commission, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the different local government units the project will traverse, among others, to push this forward. With their full support, we are confident that we will be able to complete this project on time,” NGCP said.
NGCP, which holds the 25-year concession contract to operate the power transmission network, is comprised of Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp. led by Sy, Calaca High Power Corp. led by Robert Coyiuto Jr. and the State Grid Corporation of China.