The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) called on local governments and renewable energy (RE) businesses to cooperate in creating a competitive regulatory atmosphere by reducing the number of regulatory licensing and permitting requirements.
“Responsibility does not rest solely on local governments in looking into the ease of doing business for the renewable-energy sector. The energy companies have their own role and responsibility to do, as well,” said Antonio Peralta, Chairman of the Southern Mindanao Business Council of the ECCP in a report by Business Mirror.
RE sources are “undoubtedly becoming acceptable and popular.” However the traditional regulatory role of both the government agencies concerned and local governments is hindering the interest of companies to engage in its production, he said.
Peralta asked for responses of government and industry leaders on how not to prevent the progress of the country on using renewable energy as an alternative energy source in the middle of escalating damaging effects of climatic changes.
In Mindanao, the Mindanao Development Authority has expressed its preference to create a balance mix of coal and diesel to run power plants with the production of biomass, solar, wind, and other sources of energy as water was likely to lose its reliability in the long run.
According to general manager of AboitizPower Distributed Energy Jose Rafael R. Mendoza, companies have also been discouraged by government licensing and permitting requirements that involve as many as 22 signatures.
Mendoza earlier explained to an official of the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives the possibility of connecting the weak electricity supply situation in the island provinces of Mindanao with RE sources.
He added that RE sources may either come from mainland Mindanao or developed within the island. But government regulatory requirements must be worked on by local governments if it wants several sources of electricity to come.
However, Peralta said that local governments should be aware that “22 signatures are a lot to reckon with.”
“There must be a national consciousness not to take as lip service or take for granted the law on the ease of doing business. It must be put to heart and be in actual local policies or ordinance,” he said.
“Companies must also sit down and talk with local governments and articulate their position and suggestion too. They should make their situation felt by the local governments,” Peralta added.
On the other hand, Nilo Geroche of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Mindanao field office said that around 450 MW of coal and diesel sources were added to the Mindanao grid between January last year up to this time. Only 3 MW of hydroelectric source were added and another 15 MW were generated from other RE sources, mainly from biomass.
He added that energy supply is already stable, a huge difference from the frequent brownouts in the last two decades. However, he warned that the stable supply would only last as far as three years due to an expected increase in energy demand with the rise of new factories and industries being built in Mindanao.