PH wind projects halted due to policy

by Alena Mae S. Flores – June 15, 2017 at 09:41 pm

from Manila Standard Today

Wind power development has come to a near halt in the Philippines in the absence of an operational wind regulatory framework, an official of Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas said Thursday.

Clive Turton, Vestas Asia Pacific president expressed concern over the near-term outlook for wind projects in the country in the absence of a new and clear government policy on renewable energy.

Vestas is servicing 183 megawatts of wind projects in the Philippines, including the 150-megawatt Burgos wind power plant in Ilocos Norte, one of the largest wind energy projects in Southeast Asia.

“Since the FiT2 [feed in tariff 2] came to an end, and until other policies come into effect, there is no operational wind regulatory framework. As a result, wind development has come to a near halt while conventional fossil fuel generation continues to grow significantly,” Turton said in a statement.

FIT is a policy mechanism that promotes the rapid deployment of renewable energy by offering developers a guaranteed rate for the electricity they produce.

FITs have been the main drivers of additional renewable energy capacity in the Philippines. FIT  guaranteed a rate of P8.53 and P9.68 for every kWh produced by a qualified wind and solar project, respectively.

FIT was later revised downwards for the second round to P7.40 per kWh for wind and P8.69 per kWh for solar to reflect technology improvements and cost reductions.

“A wind energy pipeline of several hundreds of megawatts stands to be unlocked with clear policy in place. Vestas is committed to help write the next chapter of wind energy deployment in The Philippines, and work with all government and private sector partners to that effect,” Turton said.

He said the Philippines has some of the most abundant wind resources in Southeast Asia and a modern wind energy technology was able to generate more power, at a lower cost than ever before.

Vestas employs over 400 people in the Philippines, where Vestas Services Philippines and Vestas Shared Service are located.

Vestas, in its position paper, said renewable energy development was facing an uncertain future in the country.

The  company said while the country was working to diversify its generation mix and grow renewable energy, committed capacities that would come online over the coming years would largely be fossil fuel based.

“With thermal power, and particularly coal projects moving forward while RE developments are at a near standstill, the country’s growing electricity needs will be fulfilled thanks to an increasing share of coal, at the expense of RE – at least in the near-term,” Vestas said.

“Indeed, wind and solar projects are virtually all halted. This is mainly due to the current RE policy vacuum, which follows the full allocation of the first two rounds of FiTs, and the freeze, of an expected third round of FiTs,” the company said.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi earlier said he was not supporting a third round of feed-in tariff for solar and wind projects.