THE National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has announced that it is now close to unifying the Philippine grid after completing several components of the Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project (MVIP), particularly the Santander and Dapitan Cable Terminal Stations, the 350-kiloVolt (kV) submarine cable, and the Lala-Aurora 138kV transmission line.

NGCP, in a press statement Thursday, June 30, completed the construction of the Cable Terminal Stations (CTS) in Santander, Cebu and Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte, as well as installation of two 92-km 350kV high voltage direct current (HVDC) power cables and two 92-km fiber optic cables.

Site acceptance tests (SATs) were conducted at the Dapitan and Santander CTS to ensure that the facilities meet NGCP's requirements.

The transmission utility said works on the submarine cable component commenced in November 2018 and was originally slated to be completed in June 2021.

However, restrictions on entry of foreign experts, work suspension, and manpower reduction brought about by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic contributed to significant delays in the project's execution.

Damage to submarine cable no. 1 caused by a third-party vessel also delayed construction activities, with repairs completed only in November 2021.

NGCP also reported that it successfully energized the Lala-Aurora 138kV Transmission Line on February 19 this year at 4:41 p.m. for Line 2 and 4:48 p.m. for Line 1.

This MVIP component, on its own, will improve the reliability of power transmission services between Lanao del Norte and provinces in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

The firm said they are happy to report that these critical MVIP components are now complete and ready for energization.

"We hoped this would finish on time, but factors beyond our control required an adjustment to our project timeline," it said, adding that "we are working double time to complete the overhead transmission line portions and advance the project to its commissioning stage to connect the Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao grids."

NGCP added that it continues to appeal for the support of the local and national government to push this project into fruition.

"Delays in local government permitting, and right-of-way issues from slow judicial processes and unsupportive landowners continue to delay our efforts," the transmission utility said.

Through the MVIP, the Mindanao grid will be linked to the Visayas grid via an HVDC system with a 450-megawatt (MW) initial capacity.

Several other components are for completion including the Dumanjug Bus-in to Colon-Samboan 138kV Transmission Line in December 2022; Dapitan-Lala 230kV Transmission Line, Kauswagan-Lala 230kV Transmission Line, and Kolambugan-Lala 230kV Transmission Line in August 2022; and the Dumanjug-Santander 350kV Transmission Line, Magdugo-Dumanjug 230kV Transmission Line, and Dumanjug-Alegria 230kV Transmission Line in October 2022. (With PR)