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Interconnection

The National Grid Corporation is fast-tracking the completion of the Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project (MVIP), eyeing to finish by the first quarter of 2022 the critical and delayed project that would finally connect the Mindanao power grid to the Luzon and Visayas grids.

Pressed to complete the project, especially with the Luzon grid facing severe supply conditions next year during the election period, NGCP president and chief executive Anthony Almeda said during a congressional hearing last week that right-of-way acquisition remains the biggest hurdle in completing the project.

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.

The project covers 184 circuit kilometers (ckm) of submarine cables and 526 ckm of overhead wires connecting Dapitan, Zamboanga del Note to Santander, Cebu. Once completed, it will connect the Visayas and Mindanao grids through an HVDC system with a 450-megawatt initial capacity, realizing a one Philippine grid.

Connecting the major island groups of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao will not only vastly improve energy security and reliability in the country when it allows surplus energy to be delivered to those that need it, but a single connected grid will also allow energy projects that have been waiting for the connection to finally be put online. In Negros Island alone, many energy projects have been on standby, pending the realization of that long-delayed interconnection.

The NGCP has used up its Covid-19 excuse to add another year to the deadline. As the recent power shortages in Luzon and the losses suffered by the delayed power projects in Negros Island have demonstrated, the country’s grid interconnection cannot be allowed to afford to suffer another delay.

The NGCP must do all it can to meet this deadline, while the economy is still foundering from the pandemic. Our interconnected electric grid has to be ready for when the country and the economy finally start to recover.*

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