Lotilla directs NPC’s 'exit' plan from fossil fuels

At a glance

    • NPC to gradually exit from deploying gensets at SPUG areas
    • Initial recourse will be hybridization of RE with conventional technologies
    • Long-term trajectory will be 100% RE solutions at off-grid domains

Lotilla directs NPC’s 'exit' plan from fossil fuels

A gradual and well-calculated exit plan from diesel generating sets and other fossil fuels has been directed by Energy Secretary Raphael P. M. Lotilla on state-run National Power Corporation.

In line with that mandate, the government-owned firm sounded off that it will no longer acquire new diesel gensets and will instead fast-track the deployment of renewable energy (RE) solutions within the areas served by its Small Power Utilities Group (SPUG) business unit.

NPC President and CEO Fernando Martin Y. Roxas affirmed that “the move came following the direction of Energy Secretary Raphael M. Lotilla to stop procuring new diesel gensets so as to lessen the corporation’s dependence on fossil fuels.”

It is worth noting that the state-owned company’s heavy reliance on imported fossil fuels technically buried it in heavy debts; and its inability to immediately recover rising costs on its fuel procurements resulted in unwanted power interruptions being suffered by consumers at its service domains.

Roxas said “we intend to push for hybridization for existing SPUG and to fully utilize renewable energy with energy storage systems for new areas.”

Technology hybridization would refer to a combination of renewable energy resource like wind, solar or hydro coupled with diesel generation or even energy storage; and these are deemed ideal solution to the energy needs of off-grid jurisdictions.

He explained that such strategy “will minimize the losses incurred from rising fuel costs and will eventually make our operations more sustainable.”

On the longer term, Roxas stated that “my ultimate goal is to convert all SPUG areas to 100-percent RE operations,” emphasizing that “what is good for the environment is likewise good for Napocor.”

Alongside that aspiration is the determination of NPC to eventually bring down the cost of generation in the areas it has been catering to; while at the same time easing off its carbon footprints.

The state-run company emphasized that it will opt for higher scale deployment of solar home systems (SHS); while also pursuing warranted wind resource assessment (WRA) across sites that have potential for viable wind farm installations.

The company conveyed that as of last year, it already awarded contracts for the installation of around 2,600 units of SHS in Maconacon and Divilacan in Isabela; as well as in various sites in Masbate, Bohol, Dinagat, Sulu, and Basilan.

The SHS units being rolled out by NPC include solar panels, batteries, LED (light emitting diode) lamps, radio, and torch lamps with 5-volt charging ports; emphasizing that these “are being distributed to unserved households in SPUG areas.”

Access to affordable and reliable electricity services will be highly necessary for the off-grid and far-flung areas, because they too, have equal rights and privileges to thrive – similar to what their counterparts in the grid-connected urban centers have been enjoying.