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Upgrading of Luzon dams to cost P54B

/ 09:47 PM October 28, 2013

Ambuklao Dam in Bokod town of Benguet. EV ESPIRITU/INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON

BAGUIO CITY—The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) is spending P54 billion to upgrade the lines and power facilities of Luzon as part of its five-year transmission development plan, company officials said.

The NGCP would start with the improvement of the transmission facilities of the 75-megawatt Ambuklao hydroelectric dam and the 132-MW Binga hydroelectric dam, said Franklin Maala, NGCP Luzon senior engineer.

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“The Ambuklao and Binga dams are so old, they badly need upgrading for a more powerful capacity,” Maala said at news conference here on Thursday.

SN Aboitiz Power Co. has acquired and rehabilitated Ambuklao Dam, which was built in 1950 and went online in 1956, and Binga Dam, which was built in 1956 and started operating in 1960.

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According to the NGCP data, the transmission development plan (TDP) intended to raise the volume of electricity distributed by the Luzon grid from 7,969 MW in 2011 to 11,165 MW in 2021.

“This is our expected adequate capacity. There will be no generation insufficiency from Luzon,” Maala said.

He said the Luzon grid distributed electricity generated by conventional plants run by coal, natural gas, diesel and oil, as well as by renewable energy plants.

Metro Manila consumes 74 percent, or 8,305 MW of the 11,165 MW of electricity that is channeled daily through the Luzon grid.

Cynthia Alabanza, NGCP spokesperson, said the 2011-2015 TDP had been approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission.

Maala said the TDP was intended to modernize the high-power voltage lines of Ambuklao and Binga dams, and the transmission lines connecting Binga to San Manuel, Pangasinan, and to La Trinidad, Benguet.

The upgrade will benefit grid consumers in those areas, among them the Hydroelectric Development Corp. and the Benguet Electric Cooperative, which supplies power to Baguio and Benguet. Desiree Caluza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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