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NGCP seeks investors for Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project

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The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) yesterday called out to possible investors for the Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project (MVIP)

In a press conference held yesterday in a local hotel, Atty. Cynthia Perez-Alabanza head of NGCP’s Corporate Communication and Public Affairs Department, said they hope that their flagship project will “invite investors to come in” and “encourage someone to invest in a power plant in Zamboanga” because this will provide a “bigger market” for them.

The MVIP aims to create a unified grid by connecting the Mindanao grid to the Visayas grid. Presently, there are existing transmission lines connected through submarine cables throughout the five major islands in Visayas, which are also interconnected to the Luzon grid. However, there are no existing lines in Mindanao and this will be the first transmission line in the area.

The P53-billion project aims completion on 2020 and will utilize a total of 184 circuit kilometers of submarine cables and 526 circuit kilometers of overhead wires.

Once finished, it will provide for consumers less power interruption, maximum use of local energy, promote sustainable sources of energy and ensure sharing of energy resources across the city.

How electricity reaches households

During the presscon, the NGCP also explained the three sectors involved in electricity process.  For the consumption of electricity to reach the households, the power supply has to pass through three sectors namely generation, transmission and distribution. The generation of electricity is under Western Mindanao Power Corporation (WMPC), which is a 100 MW diesel-fired plant in Sangali, Zamboanga City, the transmission sector, which is under NGCP’s authority and distribution is under Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ZAMCELCO).

Why Zamboanga is experiencing power shortages

NCGP also stated some of the reasons why the city is undergoing power fluctuations:

The first is location, because Zamboanga is located on the tip of a peninsula, the electricity that travels uses longer transmissions lines.

“You need electricity to move (push or pull) electricity,” said Atty. Alabanza. “And since there is 350-km away between the end of the radial line to Balo-I, the voltage support needs to be big,” she added.

The second reason stated is increase in demand. In a presentation conducted by Arnaldo Claudio, NGCP’s Construction Project Manager for MVIP, from 2015 to 2018, there has been 25% increase in the demand for electricity. Within the past six months, electricity demand has also increased due to high temperature.

The single radial transmission line is also another reason for power fluctuations. Accordingly, Zamboanga’s power supply flows through a single radial transmission line which needs more voltage support, unlike in other locations wherein there are “loops”.

Initiatives taken by NGCP to mitigate the power issue

The initiatives taken by NGCP were the energization of the Aurora-Polanco 138kV project, installation of two capacitor banks which were transferred from Davao to Zamboanga due to the city’s dire need, construction of the Balo-i-Kauswagan-Aurora transmission lines and the finalization of the Ancillary Services Procurement Agreement (ASPA).

“The solution should be multilateral…A unilateral solution will not cut it…Kailangan kami tatlo (NGCP, WMPC and ZAMCELCO). On our part, ginawa na naming ang kaya naming gawin (It needs the efforts of the three of us. On our part, we have done what we need to do). Eto na yung mga ginawa naming pero di parin sapat (These are the things that we have accomplished and yet it’s still isn’t enough),” said Alabanza.

Immediate and long-term solutions to the power shortage

One of the immediate solutions for the city’s power shortage lies on ZAMCELCO’s nomination of a minimum of 30 megawatts (MW) which will be sufficient to support the voltage within the city.

However, NGCP noted that for the problem to be solved in the long run there has to be a base load power plant present within the city that will provide continuous supply of electricity, like coal and hydropower plants with reservoir. (By Kimberly Yusay)




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