DOE awards FIT incentives to biomass, hydro projects

Published September 25, 2020, 1:21 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

The Department of Energy (DOE) has started awarding the last batch of degressed feed-in-tariff (FIT) incentives to qualified biomass and run-of-river hydropower projects that reached commercial operations on the prescribed cut-off date last year.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi

The recent round of FIT bestowed on biomass projects had been at P6.5969 per kilowatt hour (kWh); while for hydro, it had been pegged at P5.8705 per kWh.

For biomass, the DOE noted that installations had already been fully subscribed at the mandated cap of 250 megawatts; while the 250MW ceiling for hydro has yet to be totally filled up.

Primarily for the completed biomass projects, there are still 70MW of capacities vying for the remaining 23MW that have yet to be bestowed with certificates of endorsement (COE) for FIT availment by the energy department.

The biomass installations already awarded with incentives under the extended FIT program include the: 40MW project of Victorias Milling Company Inc.; 28.58MW Hawaiian-Philippine Company project; 15MWCagayan Biomass Energy Corporation rice husk biomass power facility; 12.39MW Biotech Farms Inc. plant; 8.0MW San Carlos Bioenergy Inc.; 25MW Central Azucarera de Bais biomass cogeneration facility; and 12MW Grass Gold Renewable Energy Corporation biomass plant.

The other FIT-awarded projects as early as 2018 had been: 31.875MW Central Azucarera de Pedro Inc. cogeneration power facility; 23MW Central Azucarera de San Antonio cogeneration project; and 5.96MW Biotech Farms phase 1 project.

For hydro, the recent projects bestowed with FIT had been the capacities of: Euro Hydro Power (Asia) Holdings Inc., Hedcor Bukidnon Inc., Philippine Power and Development Corporation, Hedcor Bukidnon Inc.; Majayjay Hydropower Corporation and Hedcor Inc.

For the biomass projects, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi told media that he had the numbers reviewed by the department’s Renewable Energy Management Bureau (REMB) before he will finalize the issuance of COEs for the FIT incentives of the qualified capacities.

Nevertheless, it was indicated by some sources that because of the delay in the award of the FIT incentives, some project developers already resorted to lay-off of their employees because their expected revenue stream had not been flowing as expected.

For the installations that cannot be absorbed in the extended FIT program, the National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) indicated that these will be included in the initial auction for the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) capacities scheduled next year.

The RPS is a policy that will require distribution utilities to source prescribed percentage of their supply from RE capacities, hence, broadening market option for renewable energy (RE) developments in the country.