Cusi seeks review of renewable objectives

by Alena Mae S. Flores – July 17, 2016 at 11:35 pm

from Manila Standard Today

The Energy Department plans to review the proposal of the National Renewable Energy Board to raise the installation target for wind and solar by an additional 500 megawatts each to shield consumers from high power rates.

“We intend to review NREB’s proposal… to ensure that power consumers are not unduly burdened with preference for a continuous 24/7 electricity,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said over the weekend.

NREB proposed a third round of feed-in tariff rate for solar and wind to former Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada, who deferred the decision to the new administration.

Cusi said the proposal needed thorough review for several reasons.

He said “a cost competitive effective alternative is to go on open competitive selection process [like] bidding the right to serve the requirements of distribution utilities and other mandated power industry players.”

He cited other renewable energy sources, such as hydro, run-of-river, biomass and geothermal power plants, with lower feed in tariff rates that could serve the requirements from solar and wind systems.

Among the renewable energy sources granted feed-in tariff, only solar and wind were oversubscribed or had very strong investor interest.

The entire 400-MW approved installation target for wind and the 500-MW goal for solar was already fully taken up.

“Aside from RE sources, a clean 24/7 alternative being considered to sustain meeting reduced emissions is liquefied natural gas,” Cusi said.

The Energy Regulatory Commission approved a feed-in tariff allowance, a line item in the consumers’ power bills, of P0.1240 per kilowatt-hour for 2016.

The feed-in tariff allowance is being collected by National Transmission Corp. from all consumers and is used to pay the renewable energy developers.

The additional 500 MW installation target for wind and another 500 MW for solar is expected to increase the feed-in tariff allowance.

NREB proposed a feed-tariff rate of between P7 and P8 per kilowatt-hour for solar and P6 to P7 per kWh for wind under the third wave of installation targets.

The government extends the feed-tariff as incentive to renewable energy developers under the Renewable Energy Law of 2008.

Cusi allayed concerns of higher installation targets, saying the projects should be located in Luzon and Mindanao where the grid could still absorb it.

“It’s a matter of balancing… They [DoE] should look at the geography. We have a resolution that the installation target, not only total but also geographical that’s also submitted to them, it should be based on demand, transmission constraint, area,” NREB chairman Pete Maniego said earlier.