DOE receives 30,597MW of RE project applications

Published November 18, 2020, 1:29 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

The Department of Energy (DOE) has cornered 1,025 applications for renewable energy (RE) projects as of end-September this year, and this will yield up to 30,597 megawatts (MW) of additional power capacity for the Philippines once advanced to commercial operations.

Effectively, this will be more than double the 15,000MW RE capacity that the country will need until year 2030 to comply with the mandate of the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), or the policy requiring power distribution utilities (DUs) to source a prescribed percentage of their supply from RE facilities.

Based on the DOE data, bulk of the proposed projects are solar farm installations numbering 290 and this could bring in capacity addition of 12,973MW. Of the targeted ventures, the energy department logged that only 30 solar projects will be for own-use.

Hydropower projects are also massive with propounded 554 ventures; and this will add capacity of 12,871MW in the country’s on-grid and off-grid power systems.

For wind, there are 78 projects for a capacity of 4,093MW; geothermal developments account for 32 proposed projects of aggregate 475MW capacity; biomass will have 63 projects with 159.43MW capacity; and then ocean energy with eight projects for 24MW.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi noted that as the DOE re-evaluates the country’s energy mix, “I am optimistic that this would lead to more opportunities for RE to figure prominently in our country’s energy future.”

He said the higher RE installations for the country is part of the transition from fossil fuel-based leaning economy to “cleaner energy sources to ensure more sustainable growth for the country.”

The RPS policy in the Philippines kicks off this year; and the auction for the capacity to be included in the covered-installations will be carried out first half of next year.

Senate Committee on Energy Chairman Sherwin T. Gatchalian, for his part, asserted that “now is the time to give renewable energy sources a boost as recent months have shown an increase in the generation of some power sources, such as solar, geothermal and biomass.”

Citing a report of market research firm S&P Global, he noted that even major oil companies “are diversifying into renewable and low carbon energy in response to the growing concerns over climate change.”

Gatchalian opined “there is a need to initiate the energy transition by cutting the red tape particularly for renewable energy projects and that there is already mechanism in place that streamlines the permitting process for both foreign and domestic investors.”

At this stage, he highlighted that “the whole world is moving to energy and mobility transition so we need to keep up with the trend of generating power from renewable sources to include emerging technology such as green hydrogen.”