7 UK firms want to tap ocean energy

by Alena Mae S. Flores – June 08, 2016 at 11:20 pm

from Manila Standard Today

Seven British companies have expressed interest to invest in the Philippine ocean energy sector, according to the Energy Department.

Sgurr Energy, Albatern, OpenHydro, Carbon Trust, Bell Pirie (UK) Power Corp.,  IT Power India and Oceantera are just waiting for the signal from the Energy Regulatory Commission on the feed-in tariff rate for ocean energy, an official said.

Sgurr Energy and IT Power are renewable energy consultancy firms while Albatern is involved in wave energy harvesting. OpenHydro specializes in marine turbines from tidal while Carbon Trust is a low carbon expert.  Oceantera specializes in marine renewable energy projects.

The companies met with UK Trade and Investment Manila to explore business opportunities for large-scale energy projects in the Philippines.

The United Kingdom is home to the world’s first tidal and wave testing center—European  Marine Energy Centre which was established in Orkney, Scotland in 2003.

Energy assistant secretary Mario Marasigan told reporters at the sidelines of a roundtable discussion on ocean energy that while the Philippines had a huge ocean energy potential, there was a need to “demonstrate” the technology could be commercially viable.

Marasigan identified challenges faced by the sector such an enhancing data on ocean energy, better understanding of the country’s ocean energy potential, better capability of the government to guide the private sectors and come up with an enhanced policy mechanism for ocean energy.

The British investors, who made separate presentations, asked the government to come out with the feed-in tariff for ocean energy to spur more private sector interest.

Energy Regulatory Commission director for market operations service Debora Layugan said the National Renewable Energy Board had already filed an urgent motion for resolution on the pending P17.65-per-kilowatt-hour feed-in tariff rate for ocean energy.

Layugan said ERC deferred acting on NREB’s  P17.65-per-kWh application for 10 megawatts of ocean thermal energy conversion technology installation in 2012 energy due to lack of data.

She said that based on discussions with some developers, “there were questions on whether there was a possibility for a third party subsidy, such that impact of such rate, would not be felt by end users.”

“The commission has committed to resolve this. We will come out with something in next few months…within the year….Ocean technology is baseload in nature… Then its integration to the grid will not impact as much,” Layugan said.