Barring any hitches, Bohol can directly source power from Cebu through the Cebu-Bohol 230-kilovolt interconnection by 2021, significantly increasing the province’s capacity to meet its surging power demand brought by rapid economic growth.
According to NGCP Visayas Systems Planning Division supervisor Michael Baylosis, the new power interconnection between the two provinces will have a power transfer capacity of 600 megawatts, over six times larger than the 90-MW capacity of the existing link from Leyte.
The 30-kilometer long submarine cable which will cross Argao, Cebu to either Loon or Maribojoc in Bohol will have a dual-circuit feature.
“If something happens to one cable, we will have one cable left at 600 MW,” Baylosis said.
The NGCP’s initial plan to link the interconnection from Argao to Loon was met with hurdles as the local government unit has plans to develop the area for tourism purposes.
In 2015, the Loon-Maribojoc coastline was declared by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as protected areas being a geological monument after it was uplifted by the Bohol earthquake in October, 2013.
“Upon completion of site investigations and assessment, we will be updating our design as well and we will be submitting our updates to the ERC [Energy Regulation Commission],” said Baylosis.
The NGCP also has its hands full in acquisition of right-of-way, securing of permits, and submission of required documents before it can actually start construction.
The power demand in Bohol has surpassed the 90 MW capacity of the Leyte-Bohol link prompting the province to draw power from its diesel-powered sources, which are more expensive.
“There are two diesel power plants in Bohol the One Bohol Diesel Power Plant and the Power Barge 104, however these are fueled by diesel,” Baylosis said.
Bohol’s power demand is projected to further increase in the forthcoming years.
“The forecasted demand for Bohol is still growing as we all know there’s a lot of ongoing developments,” he added.
Calamity such as earthquakes and weather disturbances which disrupted operations of power plants in Leyte, Bohol’s main power source, have left the province scrambling for emergency power sources multiple times in the past.
The NGCP’s new interconnection and the government’s efforts to have its own inland power source are seen to finally address the province’s perennial power woes.