Lotilla: DENR to issue guidelines for OSW projects

Offshore wind

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will issue a regulatory framework for approving environmental clearance for offshore wind (OSW) projects, Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla revealed. 

In a report by the Manila Bulletin, Lotilla advised the investors that specific environmental licenses and funding options would be listed in the DENR guidance for OSW projects. 

The framework will involve Geographic Information System (GIS) data that includes information on protected areas, key biodiversity areas, and no-build zones, adding that information will be used to identify any potential conflicts with the development of offshore wind (OSW) projects.

A GIS is a tool used to analyze, archive, collect, and display geospatial data – which can aid project planners in organizing conservation areas and managing protected areas.

During a meeting with Niras, a Danish consulting firm specializing in offshore wind energy, it was emphasized that environmental studies for offshore wind projects should consider various factors such as marine mammals, fish populations, benthic flora and fauna, bats, underwater noise, radio and radar interference, and maritime traffic.

Lotilla assured the investors that several agencies, including the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Environmental Regulation (DENR), and others, are working together to support OSW projects.

Meanwhile, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) looking to create a policy to speed up investor proponents’ entry to reusing port infrastructure assets that would host OSW investments in the Philippines.

SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator for Business Renato W. Lee said that the policy to expedite the entry of OSW projects in Subic should coexist with Executive Order 21 which fast-tracks the permits of OSW.

The goal is to complete a practical study in six to twelve months to evaluate Subic Port’s viability in terms of the plans required for OSW projects.

For SBMA’s policy frame for OSW projects, Lee said that a memorandum of agreement between DOE, Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), and other national government departments involved in RE projects is recommended. 

Restoring the ports for OSW projects will necessitate funding from official development aid, public-private partnerships, state financing, or private financing, claimed Lotilla.