By Rjay Zuriaga Castor
The completion of the 450-megawatt (MW) Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project (MVIP) will likely improve the reliability of the Panay grid during system disturbances, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said on Wednesday.
“The MVIP will benefit the Panay sub-grid in the sense that it improves reliability in the event of a reduced generation capacity from power plants in Visayas,” NGCP Public Relations Department Lead Specialist Reaghan Alcantara told Daily Guardian.
The MVIP marks the unification of the three major power grids – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao – into one grid.
“It is a landmark project and a mega project in the energy sector due to the sheer scale of the areas covered,” Alcantara added.
The MVIP is a 184-circuit-kilometer high-voltage direct current submarine transmission line connecting the power grids of Mindanao and Visayas through Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte, and Santander, Cebu.
The submarine cable has a transfer capacity of 450 megawatts (MW) expandable to as much as 900 MW.
The project also includes converter stations in both regions and 526 circuit-kilometers of overhead lines aimed to facilitate the flow of electricity.
“The MVIP is a step towards boosting capacity in Panay and other parts of the grid to reduce prolonged outages in the future,” added Alcantara when asked if the interconnection will lessen the possibility of a recurrence of a massive outage that hit Panay Island in early June this year.
With the full commercial operation of the MVIP, Alcantara said the Visayas grid can now source power from Mindanao in addition to sourcing from Luzon, which will ensure a stable supply across the three regions.
Apart from the unified power grid highway, the interconnection is also set to give Panay distribution utilities and electric cooperatives access to power plants in Mindanao for possible cheaper sources of power.
This energy resource sharing will help alleviate the burden of high power rates on consumers, according to Alcantara.
The full energization ceremony of the interconnection project was simultaneously held at Malacañang, NGCP’s Dumanjug Converter Station in Cebu and Lala Converter Station in Lanao del Norte on January 26.
An initial load of 22.5 MW was carried by the high-voltage submarine and overhead lines from Mindanao to the Visayas during its energization on April 30 last year and was gradually ramped up to full capacity, according to a statement from the NGCP.
Parts of the MVIP were already completed in 2022, including the Lala-Aurora 138kV Transmission Line, the 350kV Submarine Cable and Cable Terminal Stations in Santander, Cebu and Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte.
Alcantara further assured that the NGCP is committed to completing phase 3 of the Cebu-Negros-Panay (CNP) backbone project by the end of March 2024.
“Our men and women are working extremely hard to achieve that,” he emphasized.
The completion date of the CNP project has been delayed at least seven times from the original completion date of December 2020.
In April last year, the project was targeted for completion in August 2023 but was again moved to March 2024.