DOE urged to publish probe result on FIT award irregularity

By Myrna M. Velasco – Updated March 6, 2018, 3:09 PM
from Manila Bulletin

An aggrupation of solar farm developers in the country is urging Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi to “make public” the outcome of his department’s investigation on the alleged irregularities in the award of feed-in-tariff (FIT) incentives to some solar power installations.

In an interview with reporters, Philippine Solar Power Alliance (PSPA) President Tetchi Cruz-Capellan noted that the “publication of the probe results” would be the only logical step that the government can do to finally give investors closure on reports of rigged award of FIT perks to some projects.

“There are things that we have been asking from the DOE (Department of Energy). Number one, put a closure on the petition of the two companies relative to the FIT incentives award – on the allegations of cheating,” she stressed.

The five-man team of DOE undersecretaries and assistant secretaries who scrutinized the FIT endorsements and awards in the second wave solar development race, had not given any conclusion on whether or not “cheating” or rigging had been done in the grant of the solar subsidy.

The recommendation was just to refer the matter to the DOE’s legal department – a step perceived to be “very weak” and lacking traction if the intent is to really rectify policy infirmities in the renewable energy (RE) sector.

Nevertheless, the DOE investigation team has set sharp focus on the observation of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) that two FIT-endorsed projects may have not reached the required level of completion at the prescribed cut-off date for the FIT race.

“The Committee takes into consideration the findings of the ERC communicated to the Honorable Secretary in a letter dated November 8, 2016; showing at least two projects that may have been overlooked in awarding of COE-FIT (certificate of endorsement for FIT) eligibility,” the DOE report stated.

The ERC, in particular, has conveyed to the energy department that “two of the solar power plants have only reached 65-percent and 48-percent of their dependable capacities – namely Enfinity Phils Renewable Resources, Inc. and Solar Powered Agri Rural Communities Corp.”