THE Department of Energy (DoE) said on Wednesday that it is currently designing an auction process for qualified bidders interested in putting up microgrids.

“We have islands that are not connected to the grid, (which need) microgrids,” Energy Undersecretary Rowena Cristina L. Guevara told reporters on the sidelines of the Giga Summit 2023.

She cited the need for rapid implementation, adding: “We will conduct an auction this year of the candidate microgrids.”

Republic Act No. 11646 or the Microgrid Systems Act lapsed into law last year. It was passed to accelerate the electrification of unserved and underserved areas.

The law authorizes the DoE to streamline the competitive selection process for microgrid system provider service contracts.

Under the law, microgrid system providers are not required to obtain a franchise from Congress, but need to apply for an authority to operate from the Energy Regulatory Commission.

“We have 130 islands that are not connected to the grid, but not all (will be included initially) … We are (compiling) the list of those who want to have microgrids,” Ms. Guevara said.

Ms. Guevara said the auction rules are still being designed while the number of contracts to be offered remains undetermined.

“Within the year definitely because we are still designing the auction because there are many (interested parties),” she said.

Microgrid systems are intended to help the government achieve its target of total electrification by 2028.

Microgrids will also help “diversify our energy mix while ensuring a path towards a sustainable, carbon-neutral, and clean energy future and by requiring more energy sources to support the country’s increasing power demand for economic recovery and development,” Ms. Guevara said in her speech at the conference. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera