Transmission systems upgrade vital for PH, says German firm
The Philippines needs to upgrade its transmission systems to accommodate an expected increase in power demand and enable the seamless entry of new power plants, particularly renewable energy facilities, according to German firm Siemens AG.
As the Philippine national grid takes on more renewable energy projects, it will require a stronger and more flexible transmission system, said Dietmar Retzmann, director for technical marketing and innovations of Siemens AG.
Such a system, will allow the reduction of system losses—the costs of which are usually passed on to consumers up to a certain percentage—along the electricity superhighway. In the case of Siemens’ flexible AC transmission system (FACTS), for instance, the system operator will be able to easily direct and redirect power flow, reduce losses by 30 percent or more, control power flow to avoid hotspots in the grid and distribute power more uniformly across the grid, Retzmann explained.
At present, the country has the old AC transmission systems, which are now being upgraded by the lone system operator, National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, which took over the control and management of the country’s electricity superhighway from the government in 2009.
“There is a need [to upgrade]. There is demand, so the transmission system must be developed step by step,” Retzmann said.
One project the German firm is interested in is the proposed P24-billion Leyte Mindanao Interconnection Project, according to Joseph Jorel Nuyda, senior vice president and head of the energy sector at Siemens Philippines.
Nuyda said the project should have been one of the biggest transmission projects to be undertaken by the government if only the former administration had not put it in the backburner.
The government in the past had requested technical specifications from Siemens. Now, the company is just waiting for the bidding to be announced by National Grid Corp. of the Philippines.
Siemens, according to Retzmann, may be able to provide the technological requirements of this huge and critical project, noting that the company’s UHV DC system can cater to the long-distance bulk power transmission requirement of the LMIP. The UHV DC may not only enhance power transfer, it can also boost communications links as the lines will be equipped by fiber optics that will allow NGCP to use these for telecommunications.
LMIP will require a 250-kilovolt high-voltage density cable bipolar link with a total transfer capacity of 500 megawatts (MW), as well as a 455-kilometer-long overhead line and 23-kilometer submarine cable.
The NGCP, however, has yet to complete the feasibility study that will determine the viability of the transmission project.
Should the NGCP decide to proceed with the project, LMIP could pave the way for a national grid interconnection. Currently, only Luzon and Visayas are interconnected, thus isolating the Mindanao grid.
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