DOE boasts of hiked power investments

by Myrna Velasco, 03 March 2015
from Manila Bulletin

The Department of Energy (DOE) is reveling on what it reckoned as increased in capital flow for power projects – reaching total capacity of 1,677 megawatts at the duration of the Aquino administration.

The department’s claim of laying down ‘viable investment environment’ for power projects, however, was a ‘hard sell’, because in point of fact even the private sector’s bid for streamlining government approvals and processes had remained unheeded until this date.

In a statement to the media, the energy department gloated that “the development of power plant projects leading up to commissioning can be attributed to the policy reforms, improved contract application procedures and coordination with local government units and other government agencies.”

If there is one facet that can well be remembered of this administration – that it was presented with rolling brownouts scenario when it came to power in 2010 – but President Aquino’s subalterns at the energy department had not done really much to push for much-needed short-term solutions.

Many of the power projects under construction or which have reached commissioning phases were started or penciled in during the past administration – and it had been the private sector players which practically led the way.

Even the enabling laws for the entry of new power and energy investments – the Electric Power Industry Reform Act and the Renewable Energy Act – were passed during the Arroyo regime.

EPIRA in particular – despite the difficult transition and the uncharted territories that it had set as ‘acid test’ to investors – still cornered sizable capital both in the brownfield and greenfield investment opportunities in the power sector.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla, nonetheless, gave word that “the government will continue “to be proactive in its role of inviting power developers and experts.”

He said “developers can be assured that the government will extend its support for the mutual benefit of the country and their firm.”

To date, the energy department noted that there are 27 committed power projects which may yield capacity addition of 2,281MW – and some are set to reach commissioning phases at the remaining term of the Aquino administration.

The agency similarly emphasized that “there are 21 committed power projects with a total capacity of 2,413MW scheduled to be finished by 2016 and the succeeding years.”

Although a bit impossible at this point when bulk of the fuels used for the country’s electricity generation activities are still imported, the DOE self-assuredly set a rhetorical tone that it “will continue to usher an aggressive power industry as we achieve our mission of building and energy independent nation.”

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