Biz group wants self-suf­fi­cient Visayas grid

Sun Star Bacolod - - Business - BY ER­WIN P. NICAVERA

CIT­ING the need to en­sure power sta­bil­ity amid the in­creas­ing growth re­quire­ment in the Visayas re­gion in­clud­ing Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal, a lo­cal busi­ness group is push­ing for a self­suf­fi­cient Visayas grid.

Frank Car­bon, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Metro Bacolod Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try (MBCCI), said the Visayas grid can­not just rely on Lu­zon grid if ever there’s a need for sup­ply aug­men­ta­tion.

Though the two grids are in­ter­con­nected, Car­bon said the Visayas can­not to­tally de­pend on the en­ergy re­serve of that in Lu­zon as the lat­ter has also been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing power out­ages.

“We have to gen­er­ate our own power here,” he said, adding that “we have to be self-suf­fi­cient to sup­port the power re­quire­ment growth in the Visayas av­er­ag­ing from eight to 10 per­cent.”

Cit­ing a data from the Na­tional Grid Cor­po­ra­tion of the Philip­pines (NGCP), MBCCI said that en­ergy re­serve, re­fer­ring to the re­main­ing sup­ply ob­tained from gen­er­a­tion ca­pac­ity mi­nus the max­i­mum de­mand, in Lu­zon grid is about 1,000 megawatts (MW).

In the Visayas grid, on the other hand, the en­ergy re­serve only av­er­ages from 100 to 115 MW, the busi­ness cham­ber said.

Thus, if one power plant of 200 to 250-MW breaks down or will be shut down due to force main­te­nance, the grid could al­ready ex­pe­ri­ence de­fi­ciency re­sult­ing in ro­ta­tional brownouts and un­sched­uled in­ter­rup­tions, it added.

Car­bon said though con­nec­tion with the in­de­pen­dent Min­danao grid is up by 2020, the Visayas grid can­not still rely from the for­mer’s ex­cess as power growth re­quire­ment there is also ris­ing due to in­creas­ing in­vest­ments and busi­nesses.

“So just like Lu­zon grid, we might not be able to get ad­di­tional power sup­ply from Min­danao grid. They might be the one who will tap for aug­men­ta­tion from us,” he said.

Car­bon, along with other MBCCI of­fi­cials, met with a team from the De­part­ment of En­ergy (Doe)visayas in the cham­ber’s of­fice in Bacolod City on Wed­nes­day.

Dur­ing the dis­cus­sion, which fo­cused on the cur­rent power sit­u­a­tion in the Visayas, the busi­ness group aired its con­cern on not re­ly­ing to Lu­zon grid for pos­si­ble power aug­men­ta­tion.

Car­bon said they also asked the DOE about what’s the “lineup” in terms of power plants or en­ergy gen­er­a­tion projects com­ing in the Visayas.

“As trans­mis­sion is an­other im­por­tant as­pect of the power in­dus­try, we also want an up­date on the in­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity project of NGCP,” he added.

The trans­mis­sion util­ity had ear­lier said it is up­beat to achieve the tar­get full com­ple­tion and op­er­a­tion of the Cebu-ne­gros-panay 230 kilo­volts (kv) Back­bone Project in 2020.

NGCP’S cur­rent trans­mis­sion ca­pac­ity from Ne­gros to Cebu is 180 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.

The ex­cess in power gen­er­a­tion in Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal, par­tic­u­larly due to a num­ber of so­lar farms, has re­sulted in glut and con­ges­tion in the trans­mis­sion.

For the Visayas­min­danao con­nec­tion project with an “in­dica­tive” cost of US$1 bil­lion, NGCP also com­mit­ted to fin­ish it by De­cem­ber 2020 in­stead of the ini­tial tar­get of 2022 based on the original plan.

Car­bon pointed out that power, along with water and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, is very vi­tal for eco­nomic growth and de­vel­op­ment.

“With­out power, the ca­pa­bil­ity of one area to at­tract in­vestors and gen­er­ate jobs for the lo­cals is ham­pered,” he stressed.*


POWER distri­bu­tion lines of Cen­tral Ne­gros Elec­tric Co­op­er­a­tive, one of the util­i­ties in the province catered by the Visayas grid.


EDC of­fi­cials led by head of EDC’S Cor­po­rate So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity-ne­gros Nor­reen Bautista (stand­ing, sec­ond from left) with the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of seven re­cip­i­ent-fam­i­lies and barangay of­fi­cials dur­ing the turnover of ti­tles and house and lot pack­ages at Barangay Mailum in Bago City re­cently.

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