Saturday , June 23, 2018

Energy chief: NGCP can’t afford to fail

THE National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) cannot afford to fail on its target to complete its transmission project seen to address line congestion woes in Negros by 2020.

This was stressed Thursday, Octoer 5, by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, who was in Bacolod City for the oath-taking of members of the administration Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

Cusi said the Department of Energy (DOE) has recognized pressing challenges hounding the power situation in Negros.

There is still over supply of electricity in the island, and there are available generations, but unfortunately it cannot be dispatched due to line congestion, he added.

“NGCP is already addressing the issue. However, it takes time to develop the transmission," Cusi said, adding that "we are urging the utility to expedite everything."

The NGCP had earlier said they are optimistic to reach the target full completion and operation of the Cebu-Negros-Panay 230 kilovolts (kV) Backbone Project in three years.

Its spokesperson lawyer Cynthia Perez-Alabanza said they discouraged the development of additional power plants in Negros and Panay Islands as it will result to more line congestion woes.

NGCP’s current transmission capacity from Negros to Cebu is 180 megawatts (MW), which is relatively lower than the island’s generation capacity of at least 300 MW, particularly for renewable energy sources like solar.

The Cebu-Negros-Panay line will translate to an additional transmission capacity of 800 MW between Negros and Cebu.

Before its full completion and operation, the NGCP said it will limit the supply dispatch of power plants in Negros and Panay to avoid overloading.

Aside from the backbone project, the transmission utility has also started working the Visayas-Mindanao interconnection with an indicative cost of about US$1 billion.

“Because of President Rodrigo Duterte’s mandate to ensure that power stability is one of the primary concerns, the NGCP has committed to also finish the project by 2020,” Perez-Alabanza said.

This will boost power highways accommodating the “traffic” to ensure that all available power will be transmitted to those who need it, she added.

For his part, Cusi said these transmission development projects should really be completed within the target period.

“They (NGCP) cannot afford to fail. Failure is not an option, we have to make it happen,” the DOE chief said.