DoE to plot PH’s competitive RE zones

Published October 19, 2020, 7:00 AM

by Myrna M. Velasco

The Department of Energy (DOE) will be demarcating competitive renewable energy zones (CREZ) in various parts of the country, so the installations of variable RE projects could be efficiently integrated into power grids.

 The CREZ, according to the department, is anchored on the target of the country to scale up RE developments, especially so since the mandatory Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) will already be on full implementation this year.

The CREZ delineation in the Philippines by the DOE, is being pursued in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), an attached agency of the United States’ Department of Energy (US-DOE); and it is also supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

In the past installations, primarily for solar projects in the Visayas region, lack of planning on the variable REs’ integration into the grid had affected not only power system reliability; but also caused revenue losses on the part of the project sponsor-firms.

With CREZ, the DOE said it will identify “the most economic RE resource areas so transmission planning and expansion can accelerate their development.”

Such core of transmission planning must also coalesce with the projects’ rollout of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and must be harmonized with the required regulatory approvals – because the system operator cannot inject these investments without first securing the go-signal of the Energy Regulatory Commission.

According to the energy department, “by proactively focusing transmission expansion to these resource areas, RE generation development obstacles such as transmission access, energy curtailment, land permitting (i.e. in protected or high-slope areas), and regulatory barriers are easier to overcome.”

 It added that with proper planning on the transmission side of the entire RE investment chain, this could “reduce risk for private sector RE investments.”

 The DOE emphasized “new transmission stemming from the CREZ process will help all RE resources in the Philippines – including wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and hydropower.”

The DOE further noted the CREZ will complement other policies underpinning the deployment of small-scale and distributed RE resources; while also serving as a tool to cost-effectively accelerate deployment of the larger scale RE installations.

 Beyond RPS, the energy department is likewise ramping up RE developments on the sphere of net metering and the green energy option program (GEOP), policies that give consumers the power of choice on patronizing RE as their source of electricity service.