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Thursday, November 30, 2023

NGCP to expedite Batangas-Mindoro link

The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) agreed to fast-track the completion of the Batangas-Mindoro interconnection by 2025 or two years ahead of the 2027 target, the Department of Energy (DOE) said Wednesday.

DOE Undersecretary Rowena Guevara said the privately-run company agreed to complete the project “two years in advance.”

“DOE requested, and NGCP was cooperative,” Guevara said.

She said the completion of the transmission line would remove the universal charge for missionary electrification (UCME) subsidy for Mindoro. UCME is imposed on electricity users in off-grid areas.

“If you are connected to the grid, our rule is [there should be] no more UCME,” Guevara said.

NGCP earlier said Mindoro Island was plagued by various power issues such as frequent power interruptions due to reliance on outdated power facilities, heavily subsidized generation rates from diesel and bunker fuel, delays in proposed energy projects, uneven electrification rates across provinces and administrative issues of electric cooperatives.

The transmission operator said the best long-term solution to the inefficient power supply in the island is the interconnection to the Luzon grid, which would involve laying down submarine cable, installation of overhead transmission lines and development of substations.

“With the interconnection, Mindoro can already source adequate and reliable power supply and access to more competitive generation sources in the Luzon grid. Also, with a reliable transmission backbone, Mindoro may export power through the development of renewable power in the province,” NGCP said.

The project will also fulfill the government’s direction of interconnecting off-grid areas to the main grid and prepare the country for the planned ASEAN power grid interconnection.

The Batangas-Mindoro project was estimated in 2021 to cost P16.8 billion.

“With the forecasted increase in the demand, the current source of power can no longer accommodate the future load requirements. The implementation of the interconnection to the Luzon grid will resolve this issue by providing Mindoro with an access to a more reliable and competitive generation sources in the Luzon grid,” NGCP said.

NGCP said the project is also a pre-requisite for the proposed interconnection of Palawan to the main grid in support of One Grid Philippines.

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