THE Department of Energy (DoE) has listed 17 projects whose developers want included in the agency’s list of energy projects of national significance (EPNS) to add to the four that have been given an easier time during the permitting process.
Of the projects, more than half are hydroelectric power plants although the DoE’s enumeration was not complete on the information of some of those in its list. The department has so far issued four certificates for EPNS.
“The issuance of the CEPNS, as stipulated in Section 5 (a) of Executive Order No. 30 s. 2017 (EO 30), intends to establish a simplified approval process and harmonize the relevant rules and regulations of all government agencies involved in the permitting process,” the department said in a statement on Wednesday.
EO 30 was signed by the President in June 2017, while the Energy department issued its implementing rules and regulations in April 2018. The law created the Energy Investment Coordinating Council (EICC), which earlier this year issued an advisory on how energy-related projects can qualify.
The 17 projects are among the 306 applications received by the DoE, of which 289 had been notified of their non-compliance as to form or documentary requirements. Of the 23 accepted applications, two had been declined, leaving the current number for evaluation.
Of the hydropower projects for evaluation, the biggest in terms of capacity is the 500-megawatt (MW) Kibungan Badeo pumped-storage hydro power project, and the 500-MW Wawa pumped-storage hydropower project.
The smaller ones are the 20-MW Sablan 1 hydroelectric power project, 15.7-MW Maladugao River lower cascade hydroelectric power project, and the 10 MW Pulangi IV capacity addition hydropower project. The rest have a capacity of less than 10 MW.
The DoE is also evaluating three waste-to-energy projects — in Pangasinan, Pampanga and Batangas. It is also assessing a 70-MW wind farm in Camarines Sur. A lone solar farm is on the list — a 100.8-MW project in Sarangani.
The four projects that have been awarded a CEPNS are the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines’ Mindanao-Visayas interconnection project; Aragon Power and Energy Corp.’s Kalinga geothermal project; Island Wind Energy Corp.’s 151-2 MW Talim wind power project; and Atimonan One Energy, Inc.’s two-unit coal-fired power plant each with a capacity of 600 MW.
During the pre-development phase, the certificate entitles project proponents to all the rights privileges provided for under EO 30 series 2017, including action on the application within 30 working days.
For instance, the project in Kalinga, Cordillera Administrative Region in north Luzon, will enjoy presumption of prior approval, that is, it is presumed to have already complied with the requirements and permits from other government permitting agencies.
It will be deemed approved if no action is made five days after the lapse of the 30 working-day period for processing of the application.
“Please take note that the CEPNS is not an assurance or an automatic guarantee of favorable action by the permitting agencies, but a requirement from them to immediately act on the applications for permits/licenses within the prescribed periods under prevailing laws,” the DoE said, citing Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Delivery Service of Act of 2018. — Victor V. Saulon