NGCP discourages more power plants in Negros, Panay

POWER transmission utility National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has discouraged the development of additional power plants in Negros and Panay Islands as it will result to more line congestion woes, its officials said.

NGCP spokesperson Cynthia Perez-Alabanza said that Negros currently has excess power thus, it has to export to other places that need supply, particularly Cebu.

Alabanza said that all power plants, which are upgrading their facilities and building more connections, are required to get grid impact study from the NGCP.

“However, the solar plants went on and built their facilities but the grid was not able to adapt because it was too quick,” she said, adding that “we normally need several years to plan and ensure that facilities are in place.”

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

An additional 50-MW generation capacity is also expected with the development of two biomass projects in northern and southern portions of Negros Occidental.

Engineer Christian Ereño, head of NGCP’s Visayas Systems Planning, said that for now, additional power plants in Negros and Panay will add to the loading of the Negros-Cebu submarine cable.

“NGCP does not encourage more plants in Negros and Panay until the completion of our Cebu-Negros-Panay 230 kilovolts (kV) Backbone Project which will fully address line congestion problems in the Visayas,” he said.

The Cebu-Negros-Panay 230-kV Backbone Project will translate to an additional transmission capacity of 800MW between Negros and Cebu.

Before its full completion and operation, which is targeted by 2020, NGCP will limit the supply dispatch of power plants in Negros and Panay to avoid overloading. This way, the excess supply would not be that much and will be sufficient only for the capacity of its submarine cables.

The NGCP is coordinating with the Department of Energy in bracing for the possible influx of more power plants in the island, Ereño said.

“We are welcoming capacity addition but we have to do it in a way that it would not be excessive per island, it should be dispersed so that we can avoid costly submarine upgrading,” he added.
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