DOE sets criteria on ‘energy projects of national significance’

By Myrna M. Velasco – August 26, 2017, 10:01 PM

from Manila Bulletin

The Department of Energy (DOE) would still need to put in order the criteria for what shall be classified as “energy projects of national significance” (EPNS) under Executive Order (EO) 30 recently issued by President Rodrigo Duterte.

This criteria-setting process, according to Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella, shall be pursued to weed out ‘the insignificant aspects and components’ of those under the EPNS category.

“The bureaus (of the DOE) will have to fix the criteria internally, so that when we pass it on as part of the Philippine Energy Plan, it’s clear why a project is of national significance,” he said.

While fixing the categorization of the projects, he told industry stakeholders in a forum last week that they are also harmonizing approval processes based on the 30-day timeline prescribed by the EO.

For now, he stressed that such approval timeframe, if it would already spillover by five (5) days, a project of national significance shall be “deemed approved.”

But Fuentebella qualified “that is provided all required and necessary documents had already been submitted and complied with by the project proponent.”

Coordination processes with other relevant government agencies covered in the EO have been ongoing, he said.

“We’ll show it to them, especially on how to streamline the process – that they cannot point to the other agencies anymore as a pre-condition to their required approvals – like, saying that they would be requiring certificates from other agencies – it is assumed that such document is already there,” Fuentebella stressed.

At this stage, the energy department has already instituted the Energy Investment Coordinating Council (EICC) now chaired by Senior Energy Undersecretary Jesus Cristino P. Posadas.

When it comes to the regulatory aspect of approvals, primarily on the rates of power projects under supply agreements, these shall be tackled independently by the Energy Regulatory Commission.

“The PSAs (power supply agreements) will involve rates with impact on consumers, so ERC will need to act on them separately based on their mandate,” the energy official reiterated.