NGCP completes ‘critical components’ for Vis-Min grids

Published June 30, 2022, 2:50 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

Installation of critical components of the Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project (MVIP) has already been completed, according to transmission system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.

In a status report furnished to the media, the transmission company indicated that it already installed the Santander and Dapitan cable terminal stations; the 350-kilovolt (kV) submarine cable; and the Lala-Aurora 138kV transmission line.

NGCP said the completion of the MVIP project is still “on track” by end this year. Once the facilities of the linked power systems reach commercial operations, that will finally concretize the country’s long-time dream of having an interconnected single national grid.

The link-up of the power grids will enable the sharing of at least 450 megawatts of surplus capacity from Mindanao grid to Visayas, that in turn, could also be funneled to energy-starving Luzon grid.

“We hope 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 transmission firm stressed.

Based on the project’s original blueprint, the completion timeline was originally targeted for December 2020, but because of the physical work hurdles wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, there were adjustments made in the timeframe of work to be carried out in the MVIP.

The cable terminal stations in Santander, Cebu and Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte are among the concluded core components of the project – and these two areas will serve as the landing sites for the power transmission interconnection.

Additionally, there had been two 92-kilometer 350kV high voltage direct current (HVDC) power cables, as well as two 92-km fiber optic cables (FOCs) that were already laid for the link-up of the grids.

“Site acceptance tests (SATs) were conducted at the Dapitan and Santander cable terminal stations to ensure the said facilities meet NGCP’s requirements,” the transmission firm noted.

It emphasized that work on the submarine cable component kicked off in November 2018; and was initially targeted to be concluded by June 2021.

NGCP, nevertheless, stated that the “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.”

The company similarly specified that the “damage to submarine cable no.1 caused by a third-party vessel also delayed construction activities — with repairs completed only in November 2021.”

On work-components for the completion of the entire project, NGCP has reiterated its appeal “for the support of the local and national government to push this into fruition,” with it adding that “delays in local government permitting, and right-of-way issues from slow judicial processes and unsupportive landowners continue to delay our efforts.”

The next installations for the project would include the: Dumanjug Bus-in to Colon-Samboan 138kV transmission line in December 2022; Dapitan-Lala 230kV transmission line, Kauswagan-Lala 230kV transmission line, and Kolambugan-Lala 230kV transmission line by August this year; then the Dumanjug-Santander 350kV transmission line, Magdugo-Dumanjug 230kV transmission line, and Dumanjug-Alegria 230kV transmission line by October this year.