by Myrna Velasco, January 3, 2015
from Manila Bulletin
While most of the duration of the Aquino administration had been fraught with power supply crisis – first in Mindanao, then Luzon grid – the Department of Energy (DOE) has vouched that it was able to lay down the foundation for the implementation of more than 5,000 megawatts of power projects until year 2020.
In a year-end report it has sent to the media, the department noted that “power generation across the nation remains robust with 319MW of committed projects being recorded for the year alone (setting 2014 as reference period).”
With many of the projects already under construction or inching close to completing other deliverables, the department has emphasized that its job is generally confined to “closely monitoring the completion of power infrastructures in the country.”
The prevailing investment terrain in the power sector is private sector-driven, but the government’s grip on policy matters as well as approval processes for projects remained strategic and all-important.
In fact many of the projects that had been installed had been due to impediments in project approvals or on policy enforcements that had not been clear to investors and their lenders when assessed on the viability of capital outlays.
Beyond the capacity additions that will address the country’s electricity needs for baseload capacity, the department also reveled on a “mixed bag” of achievements – although it considered blitz on renewable energy (RE) projects as its major accomplishment.
“2014 is a banner year for RE with the commissioning of large-scale power plants throughout the country,” the energy department stressed.
It cited the commercial commissioning of solar and wind power projects – namely the 22MW San Carlos solar power project in Negros; as well as the 19MW Northwind expansion, 150MW Burgos and 81MW Caparispisan wind power projects in Ilocos Norte; plus the 54MW San Lorenzo wind facility in Guimaras in the Visayas.
The signing flurry of RE contracts also held the department as counterparty to prospective on-grid capacities of 5,396.82MW – if all of them would viably reach eventual commercial development.
If taken on the whole, the DOE has emphasized that it so far awarded 638 RE projects “with a total potential capacity of 10,068.031 megawatts.”