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Energy dep’t clarifies on-grid rollout procedures for renewables

THE Department of Energy (DoE) has issued new procedures to increase the share of renewable energy (RE) in on-grid facilities under the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) scheme starting this year.

In separate department circulars, the DoE issued amendments to the RPS for both on-grid and off-grid areas, which were signed on May 23.

“This RPS, for on-grid, clarifies the implementation and then the enhancement… For off-grid, we totally revised the earlier version we issued in 2018,” Mylene C. Capongcol, Energy assistant secretary, told reporters on the sidelines of an energy forum on Tuesday.

Last year, the Energy department said on-grid power suppliers must expand the share of RE in their output to 2.5% starting in 2023 from the current 1%. 

The DoE also required off-grid participants to accelerate their green energy transitions by reducing their dependence on fossil fuels by hybridization or use of alternative technology.

For off-grid areas, Ms. Capongcol said the off-grid order covers Small Power Utilities Group (SPUG) facilities, new power providers, and qualified third parties.

“More than 90% (of off-grid facilities) are conventional diesel… by implementing the RE Act we will eventually reduce the subsidies from the universal charge for missionary electrification (UCME) and volatility in supply and prices,” Ms. Capongcol said. 

The National Power Corp. and the DoE have proposed raising the UCME to sustain off-grid services as diesel prices increase. 

Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act authorizes the collection of UCME to fund Napocor’s operations, including those of its SPUG unit, which serves remote areas not connected to the grid.

Napocor said that to date SPUG currently operates 281 power plants which are mostly powered by diesel. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

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