Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Cusi wants NGCP to do pilot project on ‘underground’ power lines

Published January 23, 2017, 10:01 PM By Myrna M. Velasco

In the intent of weather-proofing the country’s energy facilities, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi is prodding the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to come up with a pilot project on underground transmission facilities.
He noted that this shall be part of the long-term plan on reinforcing the resiliency and cohesiveness of power facilities – for them to be able to withstand the recurrent strike of extreme weather swings primarily super-typhoons, earthquakes and other natural disasters.
The energy chief, however, acknowledged that an “underground transmission line” could be 10 times more expensive than above-ground installations – and that is the reason why he has been exploring ways on how the Philippines can have access to the global climate change fund that could be funneled to projects affected by climate change risks.
He said the proposed pilot project – that the NGCP may propose and identify – shall serve as “proof of concept” as to how underground transmission facilities could end up beneficial for a disaster-vulnerable country like the Philippines.
Cusi explained that such installations may appear way too expensive at first, but if the cyclical damage sustained by power facilities and the cost of rehabilitating at every strike of typhoons be calculated, the overall cost may still end up reasonable in the long run.
Forward discussions on the “rules of engagement” for the Paris agreement on climate change diplomacy include the crafting of clearer and detailed financing mechanisms on programs relative to the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) of countries on carbon footprints reduction that may also include initiatives on adaptation or that system of introducing infrastructure changes and practices to limit the risks posed by climactic changes.
In a separate statement to the media, the Department of Energy (DOE) indicated that standard operating procedures (SOPs) and emergency responses to disasters are being reviewed and updated “to lessen the impact of calamities on energy infrastructures.”

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