EICC to fast-track approval of big-ticket energy projects

By Lenie Lectura – October 26, 2017

from Business Mirror

In a bid to fully implement a Malacañang-issued policy meant to fast-track the approval of energy projects, the Department of Energy (DOE) moved to designate agency officials to the Energy Investment Coordinating Council (EICC).

The EICC will be led by the DOE, which will spearhead and coordinate national government efforts to harmonize, integrate and streamline regulatory processes, requirements and forms relevant to the development of energy investments in the country, primarily with regard to energy projects of national significance (EPNS) under Executive  Order 30.

“To ensure the smooth, effective and timely implementation of the activities of the EICC, a senior undersecretary and undersecretary shall be designated as chairman and alternate chairman of the EICC, respectively,” DOE Circular 2017-10-12 said.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi signed the circular on October 17.

Also, an EICC secretariat shall be established under the Energy Policy and Planning Bureau, which shall provide technical and administrative support to the EICC and EPNS committee.

The EPNS committee, for its part, shall conduct technical, financial and legal evaluation of applicants for  EPNS. The senior undersecretary will chair the body.

Funding to support the initial operations of the council shall be sourced from existing 2017 DOE funds.

Cusi earlier said that the Visayas-Mindanao Interconnection Project (VMIP) could be classified as EPNS.

The VMIP involves the interconnection of Visayas and Mindanao via Cebu and Zamboanga.  The converter stations in Visayas and Mindanao will be located in Sibonga, Cebu and Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur, respectively.  The project is estimated to be completed in 46 months with an estimated cost of P51,696.70 billion.

The VMIP is in support of the government’s vision to interconnect the major grids into a single national grid, which is expected to help improve the country’s overall power-supply security as sharing of reserves will become possible.

The project also aims to reinforce  the operation of the electricity market by maximizing the use of available energy resources and additional generation capacities in Visayas and Mindanao, which include the renewable-energy resources.