NREB proposes clustering of small power utilities group

By Lenie Lectura – September 28, 2017

from Business Mirror

IN a bid to entice more investors, the National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) has asked the National Power Corp. (NPC) to regroup the off-grid areas based on their demand for power capacity.

“I have asked the NPC to cluster them to make it easier for investors to have a better picture which areas they should prioritize,” said NREB Chairman Jose M. Layug Jr. in an event organized by the Dutch Embassy on Thursday.

A number of Dutch renewable- energy (RE) firms have come together to showcase their respective RE technologies. These include BlueCap Hydro, developer of small hydro turbines that can be installed without large dams in rivers, irrigation canals and large pipes; Emergya Wind Technologies, manufacturer of wind turbines installed on land or offshore; Tocardo, manufacturer of underwater turbines mounted on floating platforms or on floating barriers; Van Kessel Energy, developer of briquettes made from sustainable grass feedstock; WEnergy Global, developer of solar systems that stand alone or can be combined with batteries and/or diesel backup systems; and Zwart Techniek, supplier and manufacturer of turn-key power plants, solar systems, emergency power supply and diesel and gas-powered generators.

By virtue of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, the NPC is mandated to provide power generation and associated power-delivery systems in missionary areas or those islands and communities not connected to the main transmission grid.

Currently, the NPC operates 275 small power utilities group (Spug) plants in 189 municipalities across 34 provinces in the country.

“These Spug areas have different capacity demand. Why would any investor go to a measly 10-kilowatt [kW] area?  So there is a need to cluster the Spug areas in order to attract investments in a higher scale,” Layug said.

He cited a Dutch RE firm’s wind power offer price of P5 to P6 per kilowatt. “That is competitive. That will work. So we have to cluster the areas so investors will be encouraged to seriously look at opportunities here, particularly in Spug areas”, Layug added.

During the event, Sara Jane Ahmed of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis shared business models for both private developers and government entities to work together in funding RE projects.

The Netherlands is a world leader in experimenting with energy from waves to biomass to sun and wind. It also has a long tradition of using sustainable energy. By 2050,  the Dutch aim to cut CO2 emissions by half to generate some 40 percent of their electricity from sustainable sources like offshore wind and biomass.