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Plan to unify Philippine grid closer to completion —NGCP

The plan of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) to unify the country’s grids is getting closer to fruition after it completed major components of the P52-billion Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project (MVIP).

In a statement on Thursday, the NGCP said it has completed several components of the MVIP, particularly the Santander and Dapitan Cable Terminal Stations, the 350-kiloVolt (kV) submarine cable, and the Lala-Aurora 138kV transmission line.

With this, the grid operator said it is “now significantly close to unifying the Philippine grid…”

Currently, the Luzon and Visayas grids are interconnected, while the Mindanao grid is a stand-alone grid.

With the MVIP, the NGCP aims to link the Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao grids in a unified power grid for a more stable and secure power supply in the three major islands of the country.

The MVIP, certified as an Energy Project of National Significance in 2018, was initially targeted for completion by December 2020 but was extended to December 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent quarantine restrictions across the country.

The NGCP said it completed the construction of the Cable Terminal Stations (CTS) in Santander, Cebu and Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte, as well as installation of two 92-kilometer (km) 350kV high voltage direct current (HVDC) power cables and two 92-km fiber optic cables.

Site acceptance tests (SATs) were conducted at the Dapitan and Santander CTS to ensure the said facilities meet NGCP’s requirements, the grid operator said.

The NGCP said work on the submarine cable component commenced in November 2018 and was originally slated to be completed in June 2021.

However, it said restrictions on entry of foreign experts, work suspension, and manpower reduction brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to significant delays in the project’s execution.

Damage to submarine cable No.1 caused by a third-party vessel also delayed construction activities, with repairs completed only in November 2021.

The NGCP said it also successfully energized the Lala-Aurora 138kV Transmission Line on February 19, 2022.

“This MVIP component, on its own, will improve the reliability of power transmission services between Lanao del Norte and provinces in the Zamboanga Peninsula,” the grid operator said.

Through the MVIP, the Mindanao grid will be linked to the Visayas grid via a high voltage direct current (HVDC) system with a 450-MegaWatt initial capacity.

The project covers 184 circuit kilometers (ckm) of submarine cables and 526 ckm of overhead wires connecting Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte to Santander, Cebu.

“We hoped this would finish on time, but factors beyond our control required an adjustment to our project timeline. We are working double-time to complete the overhead transmission line portions and advance the project to its commissioning stage to connect the Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao grids,” the NGCP said.

“NGCP continues to appeal for the support of the local and national government to push this into fruition. Delays in local government permitting, and right-of-way issues from slow judicial processes and unsupportive landowners continue to delay our efforts,” it added.

Moving forward, the NGCP said several other components are for set completion including the Dapitan-Lala 350kv Transmission Line, Kauswagan-Lala 230kV Transmission Line, and Kolambugan-Lala 230kV Transmission Line in August 2022.

Also up for completion are the the Dumanjug-Santander 350kV Transmission Line, Magdugo-Dumanjug 230kV Transmission Line, and Dumanjug-Alegria 20kV Transmission Line in October 2022; and the Dumanjug Bus-in to Colon-Samboan 138kV Transmission Line in December 2022.—AOL, GMA News