A shift by state-run National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) to renewable energy (RE) technologies in energizing off-grid areas could yield annual savings of up to Php13.5 billion with consumers enjoying cheaper electricity costs.
Based on a study by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), electric cooperatives (ECs) can also generate savings ranging from P1.4 billion to Php1.7 billion over the next decade.
The IEEFA particularly cites that NAPOCOR would realize these savings if it will shift away from diesel-fired power plants, many of which are found in islands not connected to the country’s main power grids.
Off-grid areas include islands like Catanduanes and Mindoro, which were battered by a series of typhoons in October and November. They are served by NAPOCOR’s Small Power Utilities Group (SPUG). Rates for customers in these areas are subsidized via the universal charge for missionary electrification.
If the RE shift will be cheaper indeed, the subsidy cost to SPUG areas will also become lower, which would translate to lower electricity bills in the said locations.
The study further emphasized that solar photovoltaic plus lithium-ion batteries can now effectively deliver power at a lesser cost compared to the price-performance potential of the current diesel power plants.
Researchers likewise countered NAPOCOR’s belief that diesel is the only means available to energize off-grid areas, stressing that RE can provide for their respective power demands.
In the case of ECs, IEEFA indicated that the RE shift would also lower transport costs since diesel need not be imported.