NGCP seeks ERC approval for Php262B grid expansion


The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has allotted a huge capital expenditure (capex) of over Php262 billion to expand and upgrade the country’s grid system in the next four years.

NGCP recently said that it filed three separate petitions with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) seeking the approval of its various capex projects from 2020 until 2025.

Several big-ticket projects are particularly lined up under the Group 3 capex application, also the largest-valued of all three petitions, at Php113 billion. These would include the Northern Luzon 230 kilovolt (kV) Loop project ,the Nagsaag-Santiago 500kV transmission line project, Bolo-Balaoan 500kV transmission line project, Balaoan-Laoag 500kV transmission line project, and the Western Luzon 500 kV Backbone project.

The Balaoan-Laoag 500-kilovolt project, in particular, is designed to accommodate the capacities of the wind farm and solar projects in Ilocos Norte being identified as those part of  the competitive renewable energy zone (CREZ).

Back in 2018, the Department of Energy came out with the CREZ policy. It identified renewable energy (RE) zones in the country, which represent geographic areas characterized by high-quality, low-cost RE potential in addition to high levels of private-sector developer interest.

The neighboring coastal areas of Burgos, Bangui, and Pagudpud towns in Ilocos Norte, where the wind farms are located, are among the areas in the country that receive high wind speeds, based on the Global Wind Atlas. Lopez-owned Energy Development Corporation operates the Burgos wind farm and solar facility, while Ayala-led AC Energy manages the Bangui and Pagudpud wind farms.

Meanwhile, projects under Group 1 worth Php93.4 billion include the Daraga-Bitano 69kV Transmission Line Project, Abuyog 230kV Substation Project,  Baler 230kV Substation Project, Castillejos 230kV Substation Project, Dasol 230kV Substation Project, Kawit 230kV Substation Project, and Sampaloc 230Kv Substation Project.

In a statement, NGCP said it is undertaking the said projects to ensure a reliable and high-performing transmission system to avoid disruptions, in compliance with Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA). Thus, it appeals to the ERC for the projects’ immediate approval.