NGCP eyes completion of Mindanao -Visayas interconnection by 2022

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) is fasttracking the completion of the Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project (MVIP), which is now being eyed in the first quarter of 2022.

The grid operator is working to finish late this year or early next year the critical and delayed project which would connect the Mindanao power grid to the already connected Luzon and Visayas grids, NGCP president and CEO Anthony Almeda said during a congressional hearing last week.

He said right of way (ROW) acquisition remains to be the biggest hurdle in completing the project.

“We’re working on the schedule of this year or early next year. Our main real problem  now is a couple of landowners, our talks on ROW, but everything is already there...the lines are there, even our substations are all over,” Almeda said.

However, House Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez said  the project must be fast-tracked, first quarter next year at the latest, especially since the Luzon grid could  face severe supply conditions next year during the election period.

Almeda said NGCP would push hard to meet the first quarter of 2022 timeline for the project.

“We’d like to ask the help of people from Mindanao (on ROW issues)...but I have a timeline already on schedule with them. But we‘re in constant communications. But the rest, the equipment, everything is in place already. It’s just the land that has to be given to our technical group. We will push hard for the timeline,” he said.

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 impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent quarantine restrictions across the country.

In February, the NGCP said the project may not be completed on the adjusted December 2021 target completion because of the damage of several portions of its fiber optic cable connection.

The submarine cable no.1 portion of the MVIP’s Dapitan-Santander 350-kilovolt (kV) high voltage direct current (HVDC) line between Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte and Santander, Cebu was found to have been damaged in several locations when the second cable was being laid. The damaged line was completed only on Nov. 15, 2020.

Initial reports revealed that there was a vessel navigating the area where the first cable was laid a month after the completion of the cable laying activity.

The grid operator said the repair of the severed portions would require another round of procurement, awarding, scheduling of cable laying, all of which are also affected by prevailing quarantine restrictions in terms of cable shipping and availability of foreign experts.

Moreover, the actual cable laying is also subject to weather and tide conditions.

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

Once completed, the MVIP will connect the Visayas and Mindanao grids through an HVDC system with a 450-megawatt (MW) initial capacity, realizing a one Philippine grid.

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