Western Visayas

Negros power woes persist amid hopeful signs from Vis-Min interconnection

Erwin Delilan

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Negros power woes persist amid hopeful signs from Vis-Min interconnection

POWER FORUM. Negros Electric Power Corporation President and CEO Roel Castro discusses the Western Visayas' energy system during the Negros Island Forum held in Bacolod City on March 20, 2024.

Erwin Delilan/Rappler

Bacolod business leader says they need more power plants and not rely on Mindanao's excess energy

BACOLOD, Philippines – The Department of Energy (DOE) said on Wednesday, March 20, that the power situation on Negros Island and Panay remains volatile, worrying a local business group. However, an official said he was seeing a ray of hope in Mindanao’s power supply that could be transmitted to the Visayas through an interconnection project.

During the Negros Power Forum in Bacolod City, the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI), a group of businessmen in Bacolod and Negros Occidental, expressed alarm over the unstable power supply in the Western Visayas region.

But the chief of the DOE’s Industry Management Division in the Visayas, Engineer Joey Rey Malleza, said he was optimistic that the problem would soon be remedied upon the full commissioning of the 230-kilovolt (KV) Cebu-Negros-Panay Interconnection Project (CNPIP) of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) on March 31.

Under this setup, Mindanao would become the “savior” for Negros and Panay, he said.

Malleza said this following the recently-commissioned Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project (MVIP) also by NGCP, with a capacity of 450-megawatt (MW) double circuit or 500-KV direct circuit.

He said Mindanao currently has an excess of 1,000 MW of generated power.

“Hence, it’s going to be a big boost for CNPIP,” Malleza said.

However, MBCCI’s chief executive officer (CEO), Frank Carbon, said Negros Island still needs embedded or on-island baseload power plants three to four years from now.

“We cannot solely rely on imported power from Cebu or Panay or Mindanao, maybe. What if there’s a glitch in the grid? Or a technical issue with the grid interconnection?” Carbon pointed out.

Currently, Negros’ only embedded power generation plant is the 120-MW Energy Development Corporation’s (EDC) Palinpinon Geothermal Power Plant (PGPP) in Valencia town, Negros Oriental.

Carbon noted that 50% of PGPP’s power production is already consigned to Cebu.

Although Negros has several solar plants, including the 132-MW plant in Cadiz City, which is currently the largest in Southeast Asia, they are still not considered “sustainable” yet, Carbon said.

Records showed Negros’ power remains volatile, with a current “deficit” that still stands at around 350 to 400 MW.

“That’s why we badly need embedded or on-island baseload power – either renewable energy (RE) or fossil-fired,” Carbon said.

He called on Negros’ local chief executives to demonstrate “political will” in allowing power generation projects – whether renewable energy or fossil-fired – to be constructed anywhere in Negros.

Bacolod Councilor Jesus Claudio Puentevella, chairman of the city council’s committee on energy, said they were hoping that Negros and Bacolod would have an immediate alternative solution to the island’s power problem.

He said the Negros Power Forum was itself a “big leap” that could provide momentum in drawing out solutions for attaining power security on the island.

The forum was attended by different energy stakeholders in Bacolod and Negros Occidental from generation, transmission, distribution, government, business, academia, and media, among others. – Rappler.com

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