DoE: Connecting off-grid islands expensive but under discussion

Connecting off-grid islands to the country’s national grid to resolve power supply issues remains a big challenge, according to Department of Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla.

“It’s quite expensive and cannot be done overnight. The transmission system is under a concession agreement with NGCP but it is a matter that is being discussed,” Lotilla said, referring to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.

While islands like Mindoro, Palawan, and Masbate are still off-grid, the DoE will focus on “improving the transmission system within the island itself,” Lotilla said during a recent forum.

The Energy chief added that the DoE will push for initiatives to develop long-term and sustainable solutions to the power supply woes in off-grid areas.

In a different media engagement, Lotilla, citing a report by the World Bank, said the island of Mindoro, for instance, has excess power that can be exploited to serve other areas.

“The island of Mindoro has so much potential. You have seen the report of the World Bank; it has a potential of 26 GW so you can see the untapped potential,” he said.

“The town of Sablayan (in Occidental Mindoro) is bigger than the province of Cavite. We need to interconnect the island. And the key is how to transform the National Power Corporation into a dynamo, or missionary electrification,” he added.

Mindoro is an off-grid island, which means that it is not connected to the main Luzon grid controlled and operated by NGCP.

Based on the DoE’s Philippine Energy Plan 2022-2024, preparatory works are in place to develop business plans for the off-grid islands of Mindoro, Palawan Catanduanes and Marinduque, to be handled by the state-run National Transmission Corporation.

It can be recalled that NGCP proposed to build a P2.2-billion power network connecting these islands to the Luzon grid. It included the plan to construct the Batangas-Mindoro interconnection project worth P16.87 billion.

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