NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has to move its target completion of the Cebu-Bohol power grid to 2022 to allocate time for the revision of the plan to spare the tourist spots of the Bohol side of the project, particularly in Maribojoc.
During a press conference last Friday, Gov Art Yap said the entry point of the submarine cable from Cebu will be moved in an area between Maribojoc and Loon, to move it away from the historical site of Punta Cruz,
With Gov. Art Yap in the meeting were First District Rep. Edgar Chatto, Corella Mayor HilarioTocmo, Maribojoc Mayor Romulo Manuta, Cortes Mayor Iven Lim, Loon Mayor Elvi Peter Relampagos of Loon, and the barangay captains in the areas identified to be affected based on the original design of the project.
NGCP explained that the most viable solution is to submerge the power line and make it enter in barangays Punta Cruz in Maribojoc and barangay Song-on in Loon.
Manuta objected to the idea because it will affect the town’s tourism area.
On this, NGCP will have to re-compute because they will not only submerge the power cable, but even as it enters Bohol, it will have to be buried under the sand to avoid affecting the vicinity.
It will have to be buried under the ground so it will not affect earthquake-induced elevation of seabed declared as geological monument along barangay Punta Cruz and Song-on.
The NGCP needs more time to prepare a new plan wherein the transmission lines would be placed at spots beyond the highway.
On this, it would be impossible for NGCP to stick with the original target of 2021.
Originally, NGCP set the target to complete the Cebu-Bohol 230 KV Interconnection Project by 2021 as of September last year.
The NGCP intended the project for Bohol to have a reliable source of power supply.
At first, NGCP processed the permits for the submarine cable-based interconnection project through Loon from Bohol side and Sibonga from Cebu side.
However, the local government of Loon turned down the project because it is considering to have the elevated seabed within its jurisdiction declared as Geological Monument.
A total of 137 hectares of the seabed spanning the shorelines along barangays Tangnan, Cuasi, Tontonan and Song-on in Loon; and barangays Punta Cruz and Guiwanon in Maribojoc had been elevated after the magnitude 7.2 earthquake in 2013.
These areas had been declared by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as “geological monument” through DENR Administrative Order 2015-08 by Environment Secretary Ramon Paje.
With this, NGCP is now considering barangay Punta Cruz in Maribojoc to be the project site for the Cable Terminal Station (CTS).
LGU-Loon supports the project even if the CTS has to be located outside its jurisdiction.
As of the last quarter last year, NGCP already started processing the special tree-cutting permit in the protected area and also the right-of-way in the areas that would be affected by the project.
The Cebu-Bohol 230 KV Interconnection Project is seen to complement the One Bohol and inland power source that had been envisioned by the provincial government under the previous administration of Chatto.
It is intended to bail out Bohol from relying its bulk power demand on the Leyte supply.
Power consumption in Bohol is expected to reach 125 megawatts by 2025.
NGCP’s Transmission Development Plan 2016-2040 already includes the “reinforcement of the existing 138 kV Cebu-Negros-Panay submarine cable interconnection, the development of 230 kV transmission backbone from Cebu up to Panay Island (Cebu-Negros-Panay 230 kV Backbone), and the development of the new 230 kV backbone up to Bohol”.
These are “intended to accommodate conventional and renewable energy-based generation projects”, according to NGCP.
The NGCP will also implement a “gradual establishment of a looping configuration for the 138 kV transmission system” to “complement to the development of 230 kV Visayas Backbone” which is intended to “improve system reliability”.
Under NGCP’s TDP are the Visayas Substation Reliability project and Cebu-Negros-Panay Interconnection Project in Visayas, and the Mindanao 230kV Backbone Project for Mindanao, and the Bataan Grid Reinforcement Project and the Western Luzon 500kV Backbone Project for Luzon.
Last week, Yap convened a meeting with National Electrification Administration (NEA) officials- -NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong and NEA Regulatory Affairs Office (RAO) Chief Ruth Ramirez, together with Chatto.
Masongsong reported that NEA is endorsing the One Bohol Power concept formulated by the Bohol Energy Development Advisory Group (BEDAG), which aims at developing inland power generation, to the Department of Energy.
Then it will be endorsed to a technical working group for final approval.
NEA is also assisting in fast-tracking the compliance stage of the project.
It was also noted that the situation in Bohol is better because the province is connected to the grid through submarine cable but the problem is in congestion and the spike of price that results from congestion.
Ramirez, for her part, reported that NEA already sent communication to DOE that they are still waiting for the feedback from One Bohol with regard to the clarification on the base load requirement and committed energy requirement, among others.