THE DEPARTMENT of Energy (DoE) said it granted another deadline extension for feed-in tariff (FiT) applications by developers of run-of-river (RoR) hydropower projects, adding that it will receive applications until the 250-megawatt (MW) installation target is filled.

“Please be advised that the extension of the FiT System for RoR hydropower shall continue until full subscription of the 250MW installation target is achieved,” the DoE said in an advisory on its website.

The FiT program is effectively a subsidy to encourage the development of renewable energy, partly offsetting the risks taken on by developers in unproven or expensive new technologies.

Fifteen projects with total capacity of 146.113 MW have been endorsed for the FiT program as of November, leaving 103.887 MW unsubscribed. The DoE said the shortfall represents a “significant” amount.

In its advisory, DoE said that there were a “substantial number” of hydro projects in various stages of construction and vying for FiT eligibility, but these did not meet the original deadline of Dec. 31, 2019.

The National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) had requested the extension.

“We requested the extension because we knew that there were several RoR hydro projects in the pipeline but by November 2019 we knew that they would not be able to be commissioned by end-December 2019,” NREB Chairperson Monalisa C. Dimalanta told BusinessWorld in a text message Tuesday.

The FiT application for RoR hydro projects had an original deadline of Dec. 31, 2017, before the extension to the end of 2019.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), in a Nov. 25 ruling, set the FiT rate for RoR hydro at P5.90 per kilowatt hour (kWh), with a degression rate of 0.5% after the second year of the FiT’s effectivity. — Angelica Y. Yang