The Department of Energy (DOE) is studying to connect Palawan to northern Borneo through a power transmission project, as a way to solve the province’s power woes and to enhance regional energy connectivity.
Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla stressed that the project has garnered attention not only within the Philippines but also across the ASEAN region, reaching as far as Singapore.
This attention highlights its proven feasibility, which has inspired not only the Philippines but also its neighboring countries to consider a similar connection and diversify their power sources.
“It has already been shown to be feasible in the continental ASEAN. That’s why they want to do it also,” he said.
Lotilla highlighted the vital role of renewable energy, especially onshore wind, in this initiative.
Singapore has shown interest in sourcing power from the Philippines once surplus renewable energy, particularly from offshore wind projects, becomes available.
“This is one of the things that actually Singapore is interested in, which is to diversify its own sources of power,” he said.
“But that means that they are looking forward to the Philippines’ developing its renewable sources, particularly onshore wind. By the time we are able to produce excess renewable energy from offshore wind, they will be interested in sourcing power even from the Philippines,” he added.
The project falls under the Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines Power Integration Project (BIMP PIP) pilot program.
Under the scrutiny of the BIMP PIP working group, the project will undergo a comprehensive assessment, addressing technical, policy, regulatory, legal, commercial, and capacity-building aspects pertinent to cross-border power links.
The magnitude of this endeavor can be likened to Australia’s aspiration to lay submarine cables for electricity supply to Singapore.
Meanwhile, Energy Undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevarra revealed that the DoE targeted to establish a connection between Mindoro Island and the Luzon Grid by 2025.
The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) has pledged to complete this undertaking within two years, with the power link destined for Batangas province on the Luzon side.
The potential impact of this interconnection project is substantial, with expectations of a 20% reduction in the universal charge for missionary electrification once Mindoro integrates into the Luzon grid.
Currently set at P0.2233 per kilowatt-hour, this charge supports Small Power Utilities Group plants serving remote areas lacking a connection to the main transmission grid.
The swift realization of the Batangas-Mindoro interconnection holds promise for consumers and sets the stage for future plans to interconnect Palawan and Mindoro, further advancing power services and accessibility in the Philippines.