DOE eyeing hybrid systems for off-grid areas

DOE-diesel plant

The Department of Energy (DOE) is eyeing to introduce hybrid systems to more off-grid areas in the country to help lower their power costs. 

In a report by the Philippine Star, Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said introducing hybrid systems is among the department’s plans in “medium to long term,” adding that renewable energy systems do not require additional fuel costs, it could help with bringing down power prices. 

Off-grid islands in the country are currently running on diesel plants through state-run National Power Corp. (NAPOCOR). 

Lotilla said that the country faced sharp increases in diesel prices following the Russia-Ukraine war last year. 

The DOE official acknowledged that introducing more hybrid systems in off-grid areas would take time. He asked for everyone’s cooperation including consumers in missionary areas and assures everyone that the government is doing “its best”. 

In 2019, NAPOCOR launched its pilot photovoltaic-diesel hybrid project in Limasawa Island, Southern Leyte, and was synced to the Limasawa diesel power plant in February 2020. Since then, NAPOCOR saw an average decrease of Php0.97 per kilowatt-hour and recorded 31,000 liters of diesel in fuel savings. 

NAPOCOR earlier said that it plans to deploy more solar hybrid facilities in its small power utilities group (SPUG) plants in far-flung villages and islands. 

It also said that it will be partnering with the private sector to speed up the deployment of renewable energy in its covered areas. 

Currently, Lotilla said they are in cooperation with the Department of Finance and the Department of Budget and Management to provide the bridge financing which will allow NAPOCOR to continue its services to off-grid areas. 

The Department of Justice earlier allowed NAPOCOR to acquire bank loans to support its operations.