PHL’s ocean-energy potential draws interest of seven British RE firms

by Lenie LecturaJune 8, 2016

from Business Mirror

Seven British firms would like to take a closer look on power-generation opportunities in the country’s ocean-energy sector.

Energy Acting Assistant Secretary Mario C. Marasigan said at the sidelines of the roundtable discussion on ocean energy that the country’s ocean-energy potential is huge. There is a need, however, to further work on the technology to make it commercially viable.

The interested firms are Sgurr Energy, Albatern, OpenHydro, Carbon Trust, Bell Pirie (UK) Power Corp., IT Power India and Oceantera. Sgurr Energy and IT Power are renewable-energy (RE) consultancy firms; Albatern is involved in wave energy harvesting, while OpenHydro specializes in marine turbines from tidal.

Carbon Trust, on the other hand, is a low carbon expert, while Oceantera specializes in marine RE projects.

The seven firms are coordinating with the UK Trade and Investment in Manila to explore business opportunities for large-scale energy projects, aid funded business and RE, with special interest in ocean energy.

They also awaiting the signal from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on the feed-in tariff (FiT) rate for ocean energy.

Marasigan noted the challenges faced by the sector. These include data enhancement, better understanding of the country’s ocean- energy potential, better capability of the government to guide the private sectors, and come up with an enhanced policy mechanism for ocean energy.

Debora T. Layugan, ERC director for market operations service, said the National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) has already filed an urgent motion for resolution on the pending P17.65-per-kilowatt-hour FiT rate for ocean energy.

Layugan said the ERC deferred acting on NREB’s P17.65-per-kWh application for ocean energy in 2012 due to lack of data.

Ocean energy has the highest FiT rate among the other RE technologies that was applied by NREB.

“There were questions on whether there was a possibility for third party subsidy, [in] such [a way] that [the] impact of such rate, would not be felt by end users,” she said. “The ERC has committed to resolve this. We will come out with something in next few months.”

Ocean technology, Layugad added, is baseload in nature which means that its integration into the grid will not impact as much.