NREB urges DOE to finally approve RE Trust Fund rules

By Lenie Lectura – July 25, 2017 

from Business Mirror

THE National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) on Tuesday underscored the importance of the Renewable Energy (RE) Trust Fund that has yet to be implemented nine years after the RE law was enacted into law.

“If you collate all the funds, that should serve as fund for the DOE [Department of Energy] to utilize for RE systems, RE programs. That…is provided by law that should be collected from agencies. Until now, we haven’t collected,” NREB Chairman Jose Layug said.

The RE Trust Fund is among the priorities that the board is pursuing to fully realize the benefits of Republic Act (RA) 9513, or the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.

Under the law, the said fund shall be sourced from proceeds from the emission fees collected from all generating facilities consistent with RA 8749, or the Philippine Clean Air Act.

Other sources include 1.5 percent of the net annual income of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office; 1.5 percent of the net annual income of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.; 1.5 percent of the net annual dividends remitted to the National Treasury of the Philippine National Oil Co. and its subsidiaries; 1.5 percent of the proceeds of the government share collected from the development and use of indigenous non-RE resources; among others.

The creation of the RE Trust Fund is meant to enhance the development and greater utilization of RE. It shall be administered by the DOE as a special account in any of the government financial institutions that shall be exclusively used to finance the research, development, demonstration and promotion of the widespread and productive use of RE systems for power and non-power applications.

The fund shall also support the development and operation of new RE resources to improve their competitiveness in the market.

“Under the law, it’s retroactive…[and] 2009 was the year of effectivity. For every year of that, there is a percentage allocated for RE,” Layug said, adding that the amount could be utilized  “basically for research, one project here and there. But it will not amount to billions.”

Layug said the DOE needs to approve the RE Trust Fund rules through a department circular. Once signed, NREB will hold a dialogue with these agencies for them to allocate the money. “We haven’t talked to them because the DOE needs to sign the RE Trust Fund rules first,” he said.

Last month NREB approved the rules on RE Trust Fund and Green Energy Option. Layug said NREB now awaits the DOE’s approval.

The Green Energy Option is a mechanism to provide end-users the option to choose RE as their source of energy. The DOE, in consultation with the NREB, will establish the program and formulate the implementing rules and regulations.

Layug said an endorsement from the DOE for these two programs could be processed within three to five months. “The DOE will issue a circular on the rules. Usually, it’s just a yes or no after we have approved it,” he said.

The two programs, Layug said, could be implemented this year. “It is the target that these are up for implementation within the year.”

While the DOE, according to Director Mario Marasigan, cannot commit on the approval of the Green Energy Option and RE Trust Fund, “these are priority policies of DOE.”