NGCP forms team to connect Mindanao grid to Visayas by 2020

THE National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) has formed a team to work on the P51.6-billion Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project (MVIP), which aims to connect the Mindanao grid to the Visayas grid by the year 2020.

“To oversee the project’s implementation and ensure its successful completion despite difficulties and challenges which may arise, the NGCP management handpicked several employees to form the MVIP Team, consisting of Technical and Support teams, dedicated to work together for the project,” the NGCP said last week.

During the MVIP launch where the project team was formally presented and recognized, NGCP President and CEO Anthony L. Almeda encouraged cooperation in order to complete the project.

“We acknowledge the work and efforts of the MVIP team, whose efforts have made possible the progress of this major interconnection project. We also hope that, with the full and active support of everyone, we can move forward and be assured of the project’s on-time, if not advanced, implementation,” he said.

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The MVIP’s scope and magnitude will directly affect 35 local government units across four provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao. Once the MVIP is completed in 2020, the Philippines is closer to having a reliable transmission network that can sustain the energy demand across the country.

“This landmark project will boost investments, infrastructure and commerce, among others, as it stands to bring about a more stable, sufficient and resilient power supply needed to sustain the region, and in effect, the entire country’s socioeconomic progress. Any energy-related obstacles will be resolved with the sharing and efficient use of all grid-connected power sources, from as far as Ilocos in the north to Davao in the south,” Almeda said.

An idea hatched by NGCP’s predecessors as early as the 1980s, the MVIP project seeks to link the entire Philippine transmission network, allowing the grid to become resilient in the face of calamities and provide power to where it is needed the most.

Currently, the Visayas is suffering from an energy shortage, while Mindanao is experiencing a surplus of power brought about by the influx of new generating capacity in the island.

Putting the MVIP in place reinforces the Mindanao transmission backbone, which is to be finished by the first quarter of 2019. This backbone will allow NGCP to manage a transmission network in Mindanao enough to maximize the MVIP’s full capacity. Unifying the country’s transmission grid also fulfills one of the Philippines’s commitments to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which envisions to be a unified economic community in the next few years.

“The interconnection of the Philippine transmission grid will allow us to participate in the multilateral energy-trading activity within Southeast Asia as the Asean gears up for economic integration later on,” Almeda said.

Submarine cables spanning 184 circuit-kilometers and 526 circuit-kilometers of overhead lines link the Visayas and Mindanao grids as designed in the MVIP. After conducting several surveys, the transmission network operator proposed to link the islands through Cebu and Zamboanga del Norte.

The three-month hydrographic survey showed the route was the most viable due to generally low to moderate gradients, avoiding areas where strong seawater currents are exposed to rough, rocky seabed. Considering these factors, the submarine cables of the MVIP are expected to last 20 years to 30 years with limited maintenance.

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