With APEC support, underground power lines in the Philippines could be feasible, says Energy official

LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu, Oct. 12 (PNA) — Underground power lines in the Philippines? For the Department of Energy (DoE), this technology is something that should be looked into.

“A good option is really to go underground because (power lines) will not be affected by strong winds and storms,” Energy Undersecretary and Philippine Senior Official on Energy Loreta Ayson said during a media briefing here Monday on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Energy Ministers’ Meeting.

Ayson pointed out that although it makes the power lines less susceptible to outages during thunderstorms, burying power lines is a very expensive technology.

“I am not sure if the government can subsidize it,” she said. “It is something we have to work on.”

However, Ayson noted that with the support of the APEC, trade and investments will be promoted and eventually, prices of technologies needed to put power lines underground, such as supplies and materials, could be discussed.

“Hopefully, there would be a cooperation so that prices would not be so costly so that we can do this technology in our own country,” the energy undersecretary said.

Also through APEC, Ayson said, economies are able to articulate to investors that financial support is needed in this particular area.

In the United States, underground power lines make up about 18 percent of transmission lines. According to the US Energy Information Administration, nearly all new residential and commercial developments have underground electric service.

It however noted that underground power lines cost five to 10 times more than overhead wires, do not last as long, and cost more to replace.

Likewise, buried lines are more vulnerable to flooding, and can still fail due to equipment issues or lightning. (PNA)