ERC tightens standards for variable RE facilities

Published January 14, 2022, 3:22 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has issued rules that will tighten performance and reliability standards for variable renewable energy (VRE) facilities, primarily for wind and solar farm installations.

In a resolution issued by the regulatory body, it specified that the rules “shall apply to all generation companies with VRE generating facilities connected to the grid – including embedded generating plants – which have an aggregated capacity of 5.0 megawatts and above.”

In measuring the performance of the variable RE plants, the ERC indicated that factors such as forced outages, scheduled maintenance, and de-rating in generation will be assessed annually as prescribed under the rules.

“The reliability performance factors shall be computed by the ERC. The relationships among the performance factors are based on a period turbine-hours and are expressed in percentage,” the regulatory agency noted.

On forced outages of RE facilities, it was prescribed that “the VRE generation company shall submit to the ERC, system operator and network service provider all unplanned outage reports” – and that shall be in compliance with ERC Resolution No. 4 that was issued in 2015.

For planned outage or maintenance shutdown, the directive to the VRE generation firms would be to submit a copy of the outage plan – and such shall correspond to the Grid Operating and Maintenance Program (GOMP) being instituted by the Department of Energy, in coordination with system operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.

Additionally, VRE firms are mandated to submit every 15th day of the month a report that shall “reflect all the information and data,” as required by the regulator when it comes to the capacity availability as well as outages logged by their facilities.

“In case of inconsistencies in the submitted reports, the ERC shall validate the reported data with the VRE generation companies, network service provider, system operator; and if necessary, with the market operator,” the ERC said, while also sternly warning industry players that the submission of incorrect, false or misleading data will not be tolerated.

“Reliability analysis based on the computed reliability performance factors, shall be performed annually by the ERC to determine the performance of the generating units that results in electricity being delivered to customers within accepted standards and in the amount desired,” the regulating agency stressed.

The ERC further emphasized that in terms of reliability of the VRE generating facilities, such could be measured by “the frequency, duration and magnitude of adverse effects on the electricity supply.”

The regulatory body similarly reminded players in the power sector that “violation of the rules shall be subject to the imposition of appropriate sanctions, fines and penalties.”