Economy


Hearings set on renewable energy pricing




Posted on August 23, 2011


THE ENERGY REGULATORY Commission (ERC) plans to start and complete next month public hearings on the proposed pricing for electricity generated from renewable energy resources.

An announcement on the ERC Web site said public consultations on the so-called feed-in tariff (FIT) will be held at the regulator’s office in Quezon City on Sept. 9, 16, 27, 29 and 30.

"The objective is still to be able to set the appropriate technology-specific feed-in tariffs based on whatever evidence will be offered during the hearings," ERC Executive Director Francis Saturnino C. Juan said via text on Monday.

The ERC said it wants to make a decision on FIT within 90 days from end of public consultations.

SEEKING INVESTORS

The FIT system is designed to encourage investors in renewable energy development by guaranteeing them payment, which will be passed on to end-users through the universal charge.

FIT rates proposed by the National Renewable Energy Board are P7 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for biomass, P6.15/kWh for run-of-river hydroelectricity, P10.37/kWh for wind power, P17.65/kWh for ocean technology and P17.95/kWh for solar power.

Total capacity installation recommended for renewable energy resources is 760 megawatts (MW), consisting of 250 MW each for hydro and biomass, 200 MW for wind, 50 MW for solar and 10 MW for ocean technology.

CONCERN

Foreign chambers and global institutions like the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corp. have lamented the slow progress in implementing Republic Act No. 9513, or the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.

The Department of Energy had estimated it would take a year from the effectivity of that law to fully implement it.

But the ERC -- saying it had to carefully study issues -- released FIT rules only in the middle of last year.

The Board of Investments, however, has expressed reservation regarding this system, noting it will result in higher electricity bills at a time the government is trying to lure more foreign investors to the country. -- ENJD