By Alena Mae S. Flores | Manila Standard
The Energy Department declared the P52-billion Visayas-Mindanao Interconnection Project of National Grid Corp. of the Philippines as an energy project of national significance under Executive Order No. 30.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said he signed the application of NGCP to consider VIMP as a nationally significant project that would speed up the construction of the transmission facility connecting Visayas and Mindanao.
“This will make permitting faster from all agencies involved,” Cusi said.
The VIMP project involves the interconnection of Visayas and Mindanao via Cebu and Zamboanga. The project is estimated to be completed in 46 months after the start of construction with an estimated cost of P51.697 billion.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed EO 30 in June last year, creating the Energy Investment Coordinating Council to streamline the regulatory procedures affecting energy projects of national importance.
Cusi said another project nearing approval was the 1,200-megawatt Atimonan ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plant of Atimonan One Energy Inc., controlled by MeralcoPowerGen Corp.
“We have not issued it because we still have to clarify with the ERC because they have a problem with the rate,” the energy chief said.
Atimonan One’s power supply agreement with Manila Electric Co. is one of the seven PSAs filed with the commission prior to the implementation of the Competitive Selection Process, which requires utilities to bid out their requirements.
“We are ready to issue but we need a clarification,” Cusi said.
Cusi said eight other projects, mostly power generation projects (both conventional and renewable energy) were under evaluation for declaration as EPNS.
“We are building capacity to support our ‘Build, Build, Build’ program. There is an increasing demand for electricity that we need to support,” he said.
Cusi said power reserves might become thin by 2022 to 2023 amid higher demand and projected faster economic growth
“We want to expedite these projects to support economic growth,” he said.
EO 30 provides that government agencies concerned with energy projects should presume that other agencies were able to act upon and issue their respective permits within a 30-day period.
The 30-day deadline starts from the submission of the complete documentary requirements to the relevant agencies involved in the permitting process.
Applicants are required comply with certain requirements and procedures for declaration as an EPNS.