Senate energy committee chairman Sherwin Gatchalian said the Department of Energy (DOE) would need to release a total electrification plan in order to reach the 1.7 million households living in remote areas nationwide that still have no access to power.
In the latest episode of Power Podcast, the senator said that the DOE would need to map out the still unelectrified areas in the country, and identify the best technology to be used in the area – including microgrid systems.
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte recently signed Republic Act 11646 or the Microgrid Systems Act, which Gatchalian introduced in the Senate. The new law looks to use microgrid systems by using renewable energy, diesel, or any other applicable technology to completely electrify unserved and underserved areas in the country.
“[The] DOE is mandated to release a total electrification plan. Ima-mapping yung 1.7 million at titingnan ng DOE kung anong best technology na maabot sila,” Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian said that through microgrid systems, households in islands, mountains, and other geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDA) can be electrified without having to connect to the main grid or to put up electrical lines.
“The most economical technology to reach those places is to use microgrid,” he said.
Gatchalian added that once the DOE identifies the areas where microgrid systems can be placed, it would be open for investments from the private sector.
“Pwede pumasok ang private sector [para] magkabit. Ngayon kasi, ECs (electric cooperatives) ang pwede, pero alam natin na kulang din ang pondo ng EC,” Gatchalian said. Last year, Duterte issued Executive Order No. 156 mandating the DOE to identify the unviable, unserved, and underserved areas within the franchise areas of distribution utilities.