Interface of IT platform for energy projects’ permitting targeted this year

Published January 15, 2021, 7:00 AM

by Myrna M. Velasco

The interface of the information technology (IT) platform for the permitting of energy projects under the Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop (EVOSS) is targeted for completion this year, according to the Department of Energy.

The initial interface, according to Michael Sinocruz, chief of the DOE’s planning division, shall be among the government agencies first; then a wider linkage will be with the relevant industry stakeholders and project proponents.

The IT platform for EVOSS, he noted, is initially working within the system of the DOE; and that will be looped with the other agencies this year so the approval processes of proposed projects will be harmonized and systematized.

In the 2021 budget of the DOE, it was noted that an initial appropriations of P2.7 million had been earmarked to develop the IT platform of the EVOSS project permitting web.

To recall, the DOE suspended in December its project permitting set-up leaning on the issuance of certificate of energy project of national significance (CEPNS) under Executive Order No. 30 — then it migrated project applications processing to EVOSS.

Under EVOSS, the government agencies to be linked in the IT platform shall include: the Office of the President, Energy Regulatory Commission, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), National Water Resources Board, Philippine National Police, Department of Public Works and Highways and the local government units.

Other key stakeholders in the power sector, primarily the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) and transmission firm National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) must also be interfaced with the EVOSS system.

As prescribed under Republic Act 11234, the EVOSS is an “online system that allows coordinated submission and synchronous processing of all required data and information, and provides a single decision-making portal for actions on applications for permits or certifications necessary for, or related to, an application of a proponent for new power generation, transmission or distribution projects.”

The energy department is the designated lead agency that will coordinate project approvals; and it is also tasked to physically establish and institutionalize the IT platform for the project permitting.

In the electronic platform, the concerned agencies must be able to generate “unified forms of electronic documents to replace existing documentary requirements.”

Specified timeframe of approvals had also been mandated across agencies, including those on power supply agreements by the ERC for electric generating facilities and their off-taker utilities.