Feed-in-tariff mechanism set for rollout in July—ERCBy Amy R. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) expects to finally issue the much-awaited feed-in-tariff (FIT) rates for renewable energy sources later this month or July at the latest, a move that is seen to jumpstart the stalled local renewable energy industry.
ERC executive director Francis Saturnino Juan confirmed in a text message to the Inquirer the said target as the commission has already wrapped up the series of hearings that were conducted for the evaluation of the petition submitted by the National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) in May last year.
The NREB petition has sought to give solar developers and ocean energy project proponents the highest feed-in-tariff rates of P17.95 per kilowatt-hour and P17.65 per kWh, respectively. Investors in wind development may be given a FIT rate of P10.37 per kWh; for biomass, P7 per kWh; and for hydro, P6.15 per kWh.
A manifestation submitted by local solar developers, however, stated that they are willing to settle for a much lower FIT rate of P14.59 per kWh, as prices of solar panels in the global market have considerably gone down.
Local renewable energy developers will be allowed to put up a total of 760 megawatts within a three-year period, following the issuance of the FIT rates. Of this capacity, the biomass sector will be allotted 250 MW; run-of-river hydro, 250 MW; wind, 200 MW; solar, 50 MW; and ocean, 10 MW.
Certain industry stakeholders and government officials, however, have expressed apprehensions as to whether the ERC will be able to issue the FIT rates within the next two months given the amount of work that should be completed. One official even pointed out that the ERC was saddled with additional assignments without being given additional human resource capacity to tackle the work.
The NREB and local developers have since stressed the need to issue FIT rates as the Philippines may risk losing potential investments of as much as $2.5 billion, or roughly P107 billion, to its neighboring countries.
Of the $2.5 billion expected investment, the bulk or $891 million are expected to come from the construction of 250 MW of hydropower; $759.75 million from 250 MW of biomass; $170 million from solar; $551.6 million from 200 MW of wind power; and $126 million from 10 MW of ocean power development.
NREB chairman Pedro Maniego Jr. earlier admitted that some of the country’s potential developers have already lost their interest in investing in the country’s renewable energy sector and have in fact already left the country. Most of the proposed RE projects in the country remained on hold so far pending the issuance of FIT rates.
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