VisMin grid interconnection project done by October–Lotilla

THE P52-billion interconnection project that will link the Visayas and Mindanao grids has been targeted for completion by October this year, according to Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla.

“The original plan was for this to be completed in 2020 but because of the pandemic and other reasons it has been moved with a revised completion target of October 2022,” he said during the Senate Energy Committee hearing on Tuesday morning.

“But so far, as of June 2022, 65 percent has only been completed,” added Lotilla.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said in June that it has completed key components of the Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project (MVIP), paving the way for its completion.

Among these include the Santander and Dapitan cable terminal stations, the 350 kiloVolt (kV) submarine cable, and the Lala-Aurora 138kV transmission line.

NGCP has already 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 350kV high voltage direct current (HVDC) power cables and two 92-km fiber optic cables.

The grid operator also successfully energized the Lala-Aurora 138kV transmission line. This MVIP component, on its own, will improve the reliability of power transmission services between Lanao del Norte and provinces in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

“NGCP is happy to report that these critical MVIP components are now complete and ready for energization. We hoped this would finish on time, but factors beyond our control required an adjustment to our project timeline,” the company said.

“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 company added.

Through the MVIP, the Mindanao grid will be linked to the Visayas grid via an HVDC system with a 450-megawatt (MW) initial capacity.

Lotilla, during the Senate hearing, also informed lawmakers that it has asked the NGCP to complete the Bataan-Hermosa transmission line. “The NGCP, as far as Luzon is concerned, we are asking them to complete as scheduled this particular line because there is at least around 400 MW, which is stranded for as long as this is not completed,” the energy chief said.

He also informed the committee about the 474 MW stranded capacity in Luzon brought about by transmission line constraints from the power plants in Bataan to the load center in Metro Manila.

However, this could be addressed immediately through the improvement of system operations to maximize available plants, NGCP’s timely completion of transmission projects by December this year, and identification of specific segments where government is the reason for the delay and provision of necessary intervention.

For the Visayas grid, Lotilla said there would be additional capacity that will free up capacity from Negros and Panay to the rest of Cebu once the following projects are completed: Stage 1 (Negros-Cebu interim) by December this year, Stage 2 (Cebu upgrading) by October this year; and Stage 3 (Cebu-Negros-Panay) by June 2023.


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