Government seeking to purge lineup of Mindanao renewable energy projects

by Carmelita Q. Francisco, January 14, 2015
from Business World Online

DAVAO CITY — The government has started purging the list of 159 planned renewable energy projects in Mindanao, removing those whose proponents have not acted on their proposals two years after obtaining permission to explore their respective areas.

Romeo M. Montenegro, public affairs division head of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), told BusinessWorld yesterday that MinDA and the Department of Energy are now evaluating the performances of the 159 companies whose proposed renewable energy investments have been sanctioned.

Mr. Montenegro said the evaluation will determine which companies are serious, having taken initial steps in pursuing their projects, and which have been merely speculating with an intent to sell their plans to other investors.

“Only those companies that are determined to pursue their projects will remain in the list. There are other companies that have not been included in the list but are willing to invest in renewable energy, only that they are just waiting for their plans to get approved,” he said.

Companies are required to report every two months on developments in their venture, including financing options for the project, according to the MinDA official.

Last year, MinDA created a Web-based one-stop shop system for renewable energy proponents to facilitate faster application and evaluation procedures as well as provide real-time updates on the status of applications.

This mechanism is designed to ensure speedier approval and implementation of renewable energy projects to maintain an appropriate balance in Mindanao’s energy mix.

At present, about half of the southern island’s 1,400-megawatt (MW) requirement is sourced from government-run hydroelectric facilities. However, this is expected to tilt towards more fossil fuel-based sources with the opening of new privately-owned plants.

Among the first to go online this year is Therma South, Inc., a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power Corp. (AboitizPower), when it starts operating the first of two plants of its 300-MW coal-fired power project in the Davao Region.

AboitizPower, through another subsidiary AP Renewables, Inc., has also started exploring areas within Mt. Apo for a potential 200-MW geothermal energy source.

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