DOE, Shell ink EV charging deal

Published January 19, 2023, 3:32 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

To reinforce the country’s pathway into electric mobility (e-mobility), the Department of Energy (DOE) has cemented a deal with Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation (PSPC) and its affiliate-firm Shell Energy Philippines Inc. (SEPH) for the conduct of a pilot study on how best the country can accelerate the rollout of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in the country.

Based on the tripartite memorandum of agreement (MOA) inked by the parties, the EV chargers (EVCs) to be installed shall be fed with electricity generated from renewable energy (RE) sources.

It is within that precept that the DOE and the two Shell companies have envisioned that carbon emissions reduction goal wouldn’t end up to be just a ‘zero sum game’ for the environment — which could have been the case if the energy powering the EV chargers will be coming from fossil fuels.

The deal was signed between Energy Secretary Raphael P. M. Lotilla, PSPC President and CEO Lorelie Quiambao-Osial and SEPH President Bernd Krukenberg.

According to the energy department, “the primary objective of the MOA is to conduct a pilot study of electric vehicle charging stations supplied by renewable energy, such as solar.”

It is worth noting that the business case for EVs in the Philippines still wavers on that ‘chicken and egg dilemma” – primarily because industry players are still spooked with endless debate on whether or not the EVs shall come first; or shall it be the EV chargers (EVCs) that must have prior higher-level deployments.

In the newly-sealed pact with Shell, the DOE indicated that the components of the targeted pilot study shall cover those on supply, installation as well as operation and maintenance (O&M) of the targeted EV chargers.

Additionally, it was propounded that there shall be “monitoring and verification of energy efficiency, performance and savings through the utilization of RE; as well as the optimization of the use of cleaner energy.”

Lotilla considers that pact with the multinational energy giant as a “sound testament of their resoluteness in maximizing value creation while contributing to global climate change mitigation.”

He emphasized that “the outputs of the pilot project will be used as a reference for the DOE to further develop programs, policies, and regulations for the sustainable and safe adoption and operation of EVCs involving the use of RE.”

Further, the department conveyed that “the data generated in this pilot project will serve as a benchmark for PSPC and SEPH to develop and roll out the EVC network in its existing and future Shell-branded mobility sites,” and that is likewise seen as a take-off point for EV charger-installations to gain traction well into the future.

In other countries, the commercial-scale deployment of EVs is often bundled with other RE service offers – like a solar rooftop being integrated with an EV charger that shall be installed within the house of the electric car buyer.

On a broader scale, the infrastructure buildup of EVs in key energy markets entailed major transformation in their electricity systems – with some amalgamating it into their smart grid advancements.

The Philippines is relatively lagging behind its ASEAN neighbors when it comes to EV adoption partly because the incentives under the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act (EVIDA) and its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) are not as lucrative compared to what other countries offer, including those on cash rebates and other types of subsidies.