Right of way res­o­lu­tion cru­cial to VisMin in­ter­con­nec­tion – NGCP

The Philippine Star - - BUSINESS - By DANESSA RIVERA

Af­ter get­ting the go sig­nal to build the grid in­ter­con­nec­tion between Visayas and Min­danao, the Na­tional Grid Corp. of the Philip­pines said re­solv­ing the right of way (ROW) con­cerns will be crit­i­cal in meet­ing the 2020 tar­get.

“As long as the ROW is ready and we en­counter no sig­nif­i­cant de­lays in the over­head por­tions, we will do ev­ery­thing we can to meet the 2020 dead­line,” NGCP spokesper­son Cyn­thia Ala­banza said.

To fast-track the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the project, the grid op­er­a­tor will seek sup­port from mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and the na­tional gov­ern­ment to clear ROW is­sues.

“Lay­ing the sub­ma­rine ca­bles, that’s easy. As long as the ROW is done, we can keep to that sched­ule… We’re ask­ing for sup­port from all the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties that we will be travers­ing as well as the na­tional gov­ern­ment to sup­port the ROW,” Ala­banza said.

Last July, the En­ergy Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion (ERC) granted NGCP a pro­vi­sional au­thor­ity for the VisayasMin­danao In­ter­con­nec­tion Project (VIMP).

The con­verter sta­tions will be lo­cated in Si­bonga, Cebu and Au­rora, Zamboanga del Sur.

In its ap­pli­ca­tion filed in April, NGCP said it ex­pects to com­plete the project in 46 months, or roughly four years, with an es­ti­mated cost of P51.69 bil­lion.

Ala­banza said bulk of the project time­line is ded­i­cated to re­solv­ing ROW is­sues.

She said leg­is­la­tion such as the Anti Power Line Dis­tur­bance Act, which was passed on sec­ond read­ing in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, would be im­por­tant in meet­ing the project time­line.

“Con­gress passed on sec­ond read­ing through the lead­er­ship of House com­mit­tee on en­ergy chair­man Rep. Lord Al­lan Ve­lasco, the Anti Power Line Dis­tur­bance Act and that will go a long way in as­sist­ing NGCP as well as dis­tri­bu­tion util­i­ties with ROW prob­lems,” she said.

The pro­posal to link the Visayas and Min­danao grids has been there since the 1980s.

When NGCP clinched the 25-year con­ces­sion agree­ment to run the coun­try’s trans­mis­sion net­work, it con­ducted hy­dro­graphic sur­vey de­ter­min­ing the vi­able lo­ca­tion for the Visayas-Min­danao grid in­ter­con­nec­tion.

The pre­vi­ous study on the east­ern route of the project re­vealed var­i­ous ob­sta­cles in­clud­ing live or­di­nance (tor­pe­does and high ex­plo­sive shells) from the Bat­tle of Suri­gao in 1944, an un­der­wa­ter vol­cano, fault lines and seis­mic haz­ards such as un­sta­ble rock slabs.

The sec­ond study, which is in the coun­try’s western seaboard – be­gin­ning in Cebu and ter­mi­nat­ing in Dipolog — showed prom­ise for the project.

The ERC’s pro­vi­sional au­thor­ity is sub­ject to cer­tain con­di­tions. Among the con­di­tions is that the pro­posed project will be sub­ject to op­ti­miza­tion based on its ac­tual use and/ or im­ple­men­ta­tion dur­ing the re­set process for the next reg­u­la­tory pe­riod.

The grid op­er­a­tor is also re­quired to con­duct com­pet­i­tive bid­ding for the pur­chase of ma­jor ma­te­ri­als in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the project and to pay the per­mit fee.

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