Govt readies third round of FiT rates

by Alena Mae S. Flores –  May 30, 2016

from Manila Standard Today

The National Renewable Energy Board submitted to the Energy Department the proposed third round of feed-in tariff rates for solar and wind power projects.

NREB chairman Pete Maniego did not disclose the additional installation targets, pending a final resolution from the department.

“Yes, next round of FIT. We don’t want to preempt DoE by announcing the installation targets before their approval,” Maneigo said.

Maniego said NREB submitted the recommendations based on the feedback from the department, which was expected to come out with a final report on those who qualified for the second wave of solar feed-in tariff.

The feed-in tariff is provided by the government as incentives to renewable energy developers under the Renewable Energy Law of 2008.

Among the renewable energy technologies, wind and solar power projects were already oversubscribed.

The entire 400-megawatt capacity for the wind installation target was fully taken up while the department has yet to release the final list of those who qualified for the 450-MW second wave of solar installation targets.

Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada said there were 750 MW to 800 MW of total capacity of solar projects, pending before the department.

The 450-MW second wave installation target for solar came with a provision that the power projects would be completed by March 15, 2016 to provide additional capacity for the summer months.

ERC, however, granted a lower rate of P8.69 per kilowatt-hour for the second wave of installation targets covering 450 MW. The department previously approved a 50-MW installation for solar project under the first round at a feed-in tariff rate of P9.68 per kilowatt-hour.

Sources said the third round of feed-in tariff proposed  by the NREB was less than P8 per kilowatt-hour.

ERC earlier appealed to the  department to limit the solar power projects availing of the feed-in tariff rate at 500 MW, pending a study on the impact of additional rates to power consumers.

“We computed the FIT rate based on 500 MW, so if it’s going to exceed 500 MW, definitely we have to adjust the rates,” ERC chairman Jose Vicente Salazar said.

The regulator earlier approved an FIT-allowance rate of P0.1240 per kilowatt-hour, which is being collected by the National Transmission Corp. from all consumers and used to pay the renewable energy developers.

“The position of the commission is to limit to 500-MW [the solar capacity] until we determine the impact on the rates considering that our previous approval was for that [P0.12 per kWh],” Salazar said.

Monsada said as much as 300 MW of solar capacity might not be eligible for the second wave of solar feed-in tariff rate.

She said a total of 800 MW of solar power capacity was presently being evaluated by the department.

The Philippine Solar Power Solar Alliance earlier appealed to the department to exercise prudence in disqualifying completed solar projects from the feed-in tariff availment.

PSPA tpresident Tetchie Capellan said the government should recognize the role of solar energy in adding capacity to the national grid and for helping avert possible brownouts.

“The Alliance asks the DOE  for prudence in disqualifying  completed solar projects. These companies poured billions of pesos into solar projects and their possible disqualification to the RE incentives not only denies the investors the opportunity to recover their capital. More importantly, it kills the momentum created by the DOE and erodes investors’ confidence,” Capellan said.