THE Department of Energy (DoE) has issued a circular that seeks to identify what it calls competitive renewable energy zones (CREZ), which will become the guide in directing the country’s power transmission development to reach areas with potential indigenous energy resources.
Published during the weekend, department circular DC2018-09-0027 seeks to identify the renewable energy zones to help in overcoming development obstacles, including constraints on transmission as well as regulatory barriers that hinder the entry of private sector investment.
The DoE first presented the circular to industry participants in July for their comment. It is in part among the provisions sought by Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA) for the government to assure socially and environmentally compatible energy sources and infrastructure, while promoting indigenous and new RE resources.
In the circular the department said that in planning for new transmission infrastructure and/or upgrades to existing transmission infrastructure, the DoE deems it necessary to ensure the cost-effective delivery of electricity generated in regions with abundant RE resources in order to attain sustainable, stable, secure, sufficient, accessible, and reasonably-priced electricity supply and services.
The Philippine CREZ is intended to enhance the planning process and strengthen the implementation of the DoE’s various development plans for energy, distribution, transmission and renewables.
The DoE said the ideal candidate area for CREZ are “geographic areas characterized by high-quality, low-cost RE potential in addition to high levels of private-sector developer interest.”
In the selection process, the department will also identify a set of transmission or upgrade scenarios that will enhance the delivery of energy from the candidate RE zones.
The process will include an analysis of the “economic, operational, environmental, and other costs and benefits associated with the required transmission enhancement scenarios.”
It will also specify the cost-effective transmission line enhancements proposed to be included in the transmission development plan, as reviewed and approved by the DoE.
The DoE said the focus areas of the CREZ analysis are the power interconnections in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Under the circular, the DoE will create a technical advisory committee, which is chaired by the Energy secretary or a designated representative. Its members include directors of some of the department’s bureaus, along with the heads of the National Renewable Energy Board, National Transmission Corp., National Electrification Administration, and National Grid Corporation of the Philippines. — Victor V. Saulon