DOE enforces ‘port capacity assessment’ for OSW investors

At a glance

  • Well-equipped port facilities are highly essential infrastructure support to the logistics needs as well as in underpinning the entire development cycle of offshore wind projects.

The Department of Energy (DOE) is enforcing the conduct of "port capacity assessment" as one of the major requirements that offshore wind (OSW) investors have to accomplish and submit to the government as part of their applications for project-permitting.

That has been one of the key stipulations under DOE Department Circular No. DC 2023-05-0013 that was formally issued by Energy Secretary Raphael P. M. Lotilla on May 18 this year, which serves as implementing guidelines to Executive Order No. 21 decreed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. last month.

EO 21 targets to streamline OSW permitting processes as well as their integration into the energy virtual one stop shop (EVOSS) platform, with the end goal of addressing all-inclusive concerns relating to the targeted gigawatt-scale offshore wind farm developments in the country.

Via the government-mandated rules, it was primarily directed that “the port capacity assessment shall be undertaken by the OSW developer, in close coordination with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), to determine the readiness and necessary upgrades required for the prospective ports.”

It was further prescribed that “the PPA in consultation with relevant government agencies and stakeholders shall formulate ‘Port Development and Investment Plan’ to cater to the requirements of, among others, OSW development.”

Beyond that, the DOE Circular likewise requires road and grid capacity assessments to be carried out by the OSW project sponsor-firms.

The department emphasized “for road capacity assessment and infrastructure requirements, the OSW developer shall closely coordinate with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), which shall provide the necessary oversight, infrastructure support and corresponding budget.”

On the feasibility study for propounded OSW installations that shall be worked on by the project-proponents, the energy department fleshed out that such must also cover a market study “to determine availability of offtake for the OSW project” – that is in reference to ensuring a market for the generated electricity of a project.

Further, the FS shall integrate “technical study providing the micro-siting, annual energy yield assessment and preliminary engineering design.”

There is also a requirement in the FS for “financial and economic study providing the financial parameters to determine the commercial viability of the OSW project,” as well as “social and environmental impact study which summarizes the result of the OSW developers’ compliance with all the requirements of permitting agencies.”

In a statement to the media, the DOE noted that “permitting agencies are guided by the different stages of an OSW development project and the activities necessary for the successful and efficient implementation of said projects.”

The implementing guidelines primarily sets forth that the permitting agencies shall “identify and submit the complete list of appropriate permits and clearances to the DOE,” – including those on fees as well as procedures of permit-applications that investors would have to go through in their realm. The deadline of submission slated by the energy department is June 18 this year.

Apart from the local government units (LGUs), the other agencies and key entities involved in OSW projects permitting are the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of National Defense (DND), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Transportation (DOTr), Bureau of Customs (BOC), Bureau of Immigration (BI), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Bureau of Quarantine, Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA), National Power Corporation (NPC), National Transmission Corporation (TransCo); as well as Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation.