170MW wind capacity hangs

by Myrna Velasco, February 8, 2015
from Manila Bulletin

Up to 170 megawatts capacity of the wind plants in North Luzon being underpinned by the feed-in-tariff (FIT) incentives cannot be injected into the power grid because of the lingering transmission constraint in that loop of the country’s power system.

The project owners and operators of both the 150-MW Burgos and 81-MW Caparispisan wind power facilities noted that they could have helped in easing supply even on last month’s shutdown of power plants if their generated power had been fully wheeled to the grid.

The two projects, plus the 19MW expansion of the Bangui wind power facility have been endorsed by the Department of Energy (DOE) for FIT – an incentive that will be borne by all electricity consumers to stimulate investments in emerging renewable energy (RE) technologies.

While the wind plants in the north were already endorsed by the DOE for their FIT availments, their applications for certificate of compliance (COC) with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) are still pending due to questions raised by their counterpart wind developers also on their transmission congestion dilemmas.

“The COEs (certificates of endorsement) would be the basis for the determination of the FIT. We don’t have our COCs yet for now, everything is still provisional. We’re now working based on the market rules … testing-commissioning that we are just price-taker,” Pantangco explained.

He added that while the Renewable Energy Payment Agreements (REPAs) have already been signed, “the FIT-COCs can be worked on … what’s more important this time is to ease the congestion because we want to help out at least in helping provide power during summer.”

At this stage, Energy Development Corporation (EDC) executive vice president Ernesto B. Pantangco has noted that they share the limited capacity of the substation that transmits their generated electricity to the grid. That limit is set at 110MW, considerably low compared to the FIT-backed wind capacity at aggregate 280MW.

Pantangco said the sharing arrangement they have agreed with the Ayala group for the latter’s expanded Bangui and Caparispisan wind facilities is anchored on “fair and non-discriminatory open access.” The fraction allotted for the Burgos plant, he said, is 53-percent – as reckoned from all the affected plants’ level of electricity generation.

“Our bigger problem, and this is something that we’d like to work together with NGCP (National Grid Corporation of the Philippines), is to see how we can speed up the 230kV (kilovolt) line to ease the congestion,” the EDC executive has noted.

Ayala Corporation managing director Eric T. Francia, for his part, has noted that “we would want to be constructive about it and help them (NGCP) with the line.”

He emphasized that they also funneled additional investment for their facility’s connection to the Laoag substation, but the loop from Laoag to San Esteban substation is already beyond their sphere to resolve.

“We have to take a little bit of hit on economics, just so we can finish our project… we also advanced cost, we connected successfully to Laoag aubstation. But between Laoag and San Esteban, that’s no longer our responsibility,” Francia has qualified.

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