SHANGHAI, China: The Philippines is tapping the advanced technology and expertise of China’s principal utility, the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), in the ongoing construction of its smart grid pilot project in Antipolo, which is targeted for completion in 2016.
China has been getting significant attention because of its advanced efforts in the development of smart grid technology, and countries like the Philippines are just now starting to realize the technology’s full potential.
According to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), a smart grid is a contemporary electric grid that makes use of digital automatic devices, intelligent primary equipment, and advance applications to improve the reliability, economics, and sustainability of a country’s power distribution and production.
“Among technological advances [that we can adopt from the SGCC)]is the smart grid technology that we have begun implementing in the Philippines. We will have a pilot substation in Antipolo which we will commission soon. This will help us better integrate the systems and allow us to accept renewable energy sources,” NGCP spokesperson Cynthia Perez-Alabanza told reporters during a technical visit to SGCC facilities in China over the weekend.
“Having a smart grid will help us maximize our country’s grid capability,” Alabanza said.
NGCP’s smart grid initiatives include the modernization of its supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system, the upgrade of substation equipment, and expansion and upgrade of transmission lines and facilities.
The P3.2 billion Antipolo Substation is NGCP’s smart grid pilot project, which was approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission in September 2013.
The project forms part of NGCP’s 2012 Transmission Development Plan (TDP), a 10-year plan for ongoing and future construction, management, improvement, expansion, operation, maintenance, rehabilitation, and repair of the national transmission network.
NGCP recognizes that it is still relatively “too young” in terms of technology and industry practices.
The NGCP and SGCC, as its technical partner, are currently initiating various measures to narrow the technology gap and bring the Philippine grid up to par with those of other industrialized nations.
Over the long-term development of the Philippine grid, NGCP will take advantage of SGCC’s advanced technology and technical expertise.
“Apart from the physical technology, SGCC is also helping us with procedural technology systems so that we can go about the transmission business in the most efficient manner , so the technology transfer is something that SGCC wants to emphasize and as a foreign partner of NGCP, we hope to bring back this technology to the Philippines,” Alabanza further said.
Incorporated in 2008, NGCP won the franchise to operate, manage, and expand the electricity transmission business in the country in the biggest government auction held in 2008. A product of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act, the Franchise Law authorizes NGCP to operate the transmission grid for 25 years, renewable for another 25 years.