DOE to review proposal to raise solar, wind installation targets

DOE to review proposal to raise solar, wind installation targets

The Department of Energy (DOE) intends to review the National Renewable Energy Board’s (NREB) proposal to raise the installation target for wind and solar energy by 500-megawatts (MW) each to protect consumers from high power rates.

Over the weekend, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said, “We intend to review NREB’s proposal… to ensure that power consumers are not unduly burdened with preference for a continuous 24/7 electricity.”

“A cost competitive effective alternative is to go on open competitive selection process [like] bidding the right to serve the requirements of distribution utilities and other mandated power industry players,” Cusi said.

The NREB has proposed a third round of feed-in-tariff (FIT) rate for solar and wind energy to former DOE secretary Zenaida Mansada. NREB proposed a feed-tariff rate of between P7 and P8 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for solar and P6 to P7 per kWh for wind under the third wave of installation targets.

Among renewable energy sources in the country, only solar and wind energy have very strong investor interests. However, their installation targets at 500 MW and 400 MW, respectively, are already filled up.

Cusi has mentioned other renewables such as hydro, run of river, biomass and geothermal power plants that have lower feed in tariff rates that could serve the requirements from solar and wind systems.

“Aside from RE sources, a clean 24/7 alternative being considered to sustain meeting reduced emissions is liquefied natural gas,” Cusi added.

The Energy Regulatory Commission approved a P0.1240 per kilowatt hour feed-in-tariff in 2016. The additional installation target for wind and solar is expected to increase the feed-in-tariff allowance.