NATIONAL Power Power Corp. (Napocor) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with renewable energy company APTI Renewable Energy Corp. to identify possible renewable energy development.

The state-led corporation said the tie-up would enable it to “promote and identify priorities” for the development of sustainable renewable energy using biofuel and biomass hybrid power, particularly its small power utilities group (SPUG) areas.

Martin Y. Roxas, Napocor president and chief executive officer, said the MoU “will allow us to access APTI REC’s technology on the use of biofuel or palm oil as an alternative fuel.”

According to Mr. Roxas, the partnership is part of Napocor’s agenda on sustainability and the gradual minimization of fossil fuel dependence.

“Together, we shall also collaborate to build a prototype bioenergy renewable energy power plant that uses palm oil and develop an integrated logistical and technical system for the production of biofuel and biomass,” he added.

The company cited the application of APTI technologies in SPUG areas, as remote communities suffer from inclement weather which hinders fuel delivery and drives up costs.

“If we can develop a model of this technology on various SPUG areas, we can save costs on fuel and hauling,” Mr. Roxas said.

Under the partnership, off-grid areas will be provided livelihood opportunities while also supplying affordable, renewable, and cleaner energy to them.

In an earlier statement, the National Electrification Administration announced the reduction of services to SPUG areas due to high diesel costs and the delayed payments of the universal charge for missionary electrification (UCME).

Napocor has since postponed the implementation but suggested increasing the UCME to 15 centavos per kilowatt-hour.

Under Republic Act No. 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, Napocor is authorized to collect UCME to fund operations that serve remote areas not connected to the main grid, including SPUGs.

Additionally, Napocor was authorized by the Department of Energy to borrow P5 billion to purchase fuel, which it expects to receive by May. It currently operates 281 SPUG plants in 35 provinces.

APTI is a subsidiary of Asian Pyrochem Technologies, Inc., an import and export channel under the partnership of the Philippines and Indonesia.

“This partnership will not only pursue energy development but will also help alleviate poverty in the countryside,” said Harley Luis T. Leaño, APTI president and chief executive officer. — Adrian H. Halili