Energy lukewarm to a new FIT round

by Alena Mae S. Flores – November 03, 2016 at 11:45 pm

from Manila Standard Today

The Energy Department is lukewarm to granting a third round of feed-in tariff rates to renewable energy producers which will further increase the cost of electricity in the country.

“For now, we don’t want too much…Because FIT, it runs up to 20 years and it’s overburdening our consumers. We want to bring down our electricity rates. How can we bring it down if we keep on giving FIT,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi told reporters.

FIT refers to the fixed rates received by renewable energy producers such as solar, wind, biomass and mini-hydro plants.

Cusi said when he stepped into office, he promised to look for ways to bring down the power cost in the country, which remained one of the highest in the world.

The previous National Renewable Energy Board members endorsed a third round of feed-in tariff for an additional 500 megawatts for solar and 500 MW for wind projects.

The National Transmission Corp. is now collecting from consumers a feed-in tariff allowance of P0.1240 per kilowatt-hour.

Cusi said the department was looking at other sources to pay for the feed-in tariff, which served as incentive to renewable energy developers under the Renewable Energy Law of 2008.

“We can get the FIT from other sources. I talked to the Climate Change Commission…But not for our people to be burdened for this…Why should we punish the people.  Here we are, struggling, we are complaining about our electricity rate,” he said.

Cusi also said solar power players who failed to meet the March 15, 2016 deadline should look at other options and not rely on the feed-in tariff.

“In any race, there’s a winner, there’s a loser. Not everyone can be winers, so those people who qualified, they will get the FIT…You know the rules when you participated. If you don’t qualify, you should know your options,” Cusi said.

He said solar developers could sell their capacity through the spot market or through bilateral contracts.

“I’m not against solar, against providing incentive to developers but through different ways and means,” Cusi said.

Cusi earlier said NREB’s pending proposal should be thoroughly reviewed.  He said “a cost competitive effective  alternative is to go on open competitive selection process [such as] bidding the right to serve the requirements of distribution utilities and other mandated power industry players.”