By Minerva BC Newman
CEBU CITY – The Regional Development Council (RDC) in Central Visayas has been aggressively pursuing the implementation of the Cebu-Bohol power interconnection project since the deadly 2013 earthquake and super typhoon up to the last Friday’s RDC year-end meeting here.
Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto thanked the RDC-7 for its consistent support for the development of the province as he cited the series of lobbying done for the Cebu-Bohol power link and the Cebu-Negros Oriental to Siquijor submarine cable for power stability in Central Visayas.
The yearender endorsement was to reiterate the urgency of the Cebu-Bohol power link project. Chatto said the second power interconnection will be vital in the realization of other timelines of Bohol’s development agenda.
According to Chatto, after years of lobbying, engineering and survey will start in January-August 2019 “to signal the start of the project,” Chatto added.
Chatto bared that through the Bohol Energy Development Advisory Group (BEDAG) the province will still pursue the construction of a large-scale inland power plant for a more reliable, sustainable and resilient energy.
A team from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), headed by NGCP-Visayas Systems Operations chief Engr. Raul Galano, presented the interconnection project timetable during the BEDAG meeting led by Chatto at the Governor’ Mansion last week.
According to Galano’s presentation, the pre-construction activities such as the right of way (ROW) acquisition and environmental permits processing/ issuance will follow until construction will begin in July 2020 and get completed in December 2021.
Galano revealed that the 230-kilovolt (KV) Cebu-Bohol interconnection has a power transfer capacity of 400 megawatts, almost six times larger than the 90-MW capacity of the existing link from Leyte.
Galano said the 138-KV Leyte-Bohol interconnection has a limited transfer capacity of 90-megawatts. This is the maximum power demand which has already been reached this year and the demand is growing, he added.
The Cebu-Bohol link includes a 29-km overhead line from Dumanjug to Argao in Cebu; a 30-km Argao submarine cable from Argao to Loon; and a 26-km overhead line from Loon to the substation in Corella, Galano bared.
Galano said the results of the various meetings on the project had been positive because NGCP also included the proposed project in its Visayas Backbone Looping Program.
Power generation and transmission investments in the country have to be synchronized as the province pursues its proposed inland power plant for baseload requirement, Galano added.
According to governor Chatto the large-scale power plant right inside Bohol will be put up by the winning common supply contractor of the three local distribution utilities under the “One Bohol Power” a creation of the BEDAG.
The existing contracts of the utilities with their respective suppliers will expire in December 2023, Chatto said. Once the Cebu-Bohol interconnection and the inland power plant are in place, any excess electricity produced in Bohol can be sold outside through either the Cebu or Leyte transmission systems.
The present Leyte-Bohol interconnection will stay even after the operationalization of the Cebu-Bohol interconnection program, Chatto added.
The governor created a local team under the BEDAG to coordinate with the NGCP to fast-track the pre-construction activities.
Chatto said series of meetings between NGCP and Argao town officials and other stakeholders in Cebu and Bohol are expected next week.
Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) Executive Vice President Argeo Melisimo said the business community wants the Cebu power transmission to Bohol done the soonest possible.
“Investments are expected to move fast between now and 2021,” Chatto said the operation and activities of the Panglao International Airport alone are expected to increase electricity consumption hence, the need for more power in Bohol.