NGCP to continue ‘massive’ facility improvements this year

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The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) is poised to undertake several major facility improvement programs this year in its continuing pursuit of upgrading and strengthening the country’s power transmission network, the country’s sole grid operator said over the weekend.

Among the projects NGCP is pursuing are the Luzon 500kV backbone to accommodate incoming generating plants; the Cebu-Negros-Panay backbone to improve power sharing between the major islands; and the Mindanao 230kV backbone to reinforce the Mindanao grid as new plants come online.

“When we took over, it was very clear to us that upgrading and improving the failing and aging facilities we inherited from the National Transmission Corporation (Transco) was top priority,” NGCP said.

“At the time this concession was bid out, many of the transmission facilities already reached, or were about to reach their maximum economic life. It was very clear to us that government could no longer continue to fund the massive transmission related projects needed to ensure that the transmission facilities remained relevant, up to date, and able to address the pressing needs of a growing economy,” the company said.

NGCP has built 2,472 circuit-kilometers (ct. km.) of transmission lines since they took over in 2009. This year, 24 transmission projects will be completed, 26 are under construction, and 22 projects will commence. An additional 674.9 ct. km. of lines will be added to the country’s transmission network for 2017 alone, NGCP said.

“Another aspect of NGCP’s commitment is to ensure that all its facilities are well-maintained and reliable. Our continuous auditing of existing assets has resulted in a preventive replacement program designed to mitigate any unplanned transmission outages. The program outlines the replacement of aging towers and poles and substation equipment over the next four years,” NGCP stated.

For this year, the grid operator is set to replace 2,134 wood poles that are considered grid facilities with steel structures.

NGCP is also set to replace an additional 417 wood poles – considered residual sub-transmission assets – this year. Facilities that serve to strengthen the network as a whole are considered grid facilities, while those that serve a single entity or user, whether that user is a power plant, a distribution utility or directly connected industrial consumer, is considered a sub-transmission asset.

“Since 2009, NGCP has installed a total of 13,200 megaVolt-amperes (MVA) of substation capacity. Moving forward, more than 30 transformers in substations across the country are also set to be replaced between 2017 and 2019. Nine transformers with 300MVA, 100MVA, and 50MVA ratings located in critical areas such as Las Piñas, San Jose, and Naga, among others, are expected to be replaced this year alone. That’s an additional 1,480 MVA in substation capacity over the next 3 years,” NGCP added.

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