by Lenie Lectura, February 12, 2015
AN official of the National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) on Thursday said it is now in consultation with industry players to arrive at a mutually acceptable feed-in-tariff (FiT) rate for solar energy projects.
“There is a consensus that the P9.10 per kilowatt hour [kWh] is no longer acceptable. We are still doing consultations on what is an appropriate rate,” NREB Vice Chairman Ernesto Pantangco said.
The FiT is the per-kWh rate that will be guaranteed to renewable-energy developers to ensure the viability of their projects. Consumers shoulder the tariff through a new line item in their electricity bills.
It is the Energy Regulatory Commission that conducts the hearing on the appropriate FiT rate for the 450-megawatt (MW) additional installation for solar- power projects.
The Department of Energy initially set the installation cap at 75 MW divided among run-of-river hydro with 250 MW; biomass, 250 MW; wind, 200 MW; and solar, 50 MW. The installation target for solar was already adjusted to 500 MW.
Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla had said the proposed 450-MW increase in installation target for solar projects will only have a P0.02-per-kWh impact on consumers.
Pantangco said there was a “very strong resistance” on the FiT price. “I can’t say from whom, but the current thinking of some developers is either P9.68 or P9.10. And, therefore, the challenge now is for us to determine what will be a mutually acceptable feed-in tariff. It came out, we presented, in the last hearing with the ERC that, maybe, something below P9.10 per kWh…something like P8.95 per kWh,” Pangtangco said.
He said the consultation will help NREB determine an FiT rate that would be both encouraging for renewable-energy (RE) developers and affordable to consumers when passed on. “We want to encourage, but, at the same time, we want to temper the impact on consumers,” Pantangco said.
The NREB is the body tasked by the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 to recommend policies, rules and standards to govern the implementation of the law, which granted fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to RE projects.