THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has released a draft of the rules that include distributed energy resources and hybrid energy systems as among those that need prior certification from the agency before they can commercially operate.

In the draft, which the ERC posted on its website for industry comment, the agency will start issuing a certificate of compliance (CoC) to these systems, which are gaining greater use.

The CoC is proof a power plant complies with the applicable regulations clearing it as safe to switch on and operate. Revised ERC CoC Rules of 2014 states no person or entity may engage in electricity generation unless it has secured a CoC from the ERC to operate a generation facility.

Distributed energy resources are smaller power sources that can be aggregated or grouped together to provide power necessary to meet regular demand. These are also called demand- and supply-side resources that can be deployed throughout the system of an electric utility to meet the energy and reliability needs of the customers served by the system.

The proposed rules also require a new CoC application for any addition or replacement of any unit of a power plant. A consolidated certificate will be issued upon the renewal of the existing units provided that they are located in a contiguous area.

A power generation company owning a hybrid system is also required to file a separate CoC application for each generation component facility. Hybrid systems are energy generation facilities that make use of two or more types of technologies using both conventional and renewable fuel sources. These include integrated solar-wind systems, biomass-fossil fuel systems, with a minimum of 10% of the annual energy output provided by the renewable energy component.

Distributed energy resources include renewable energy facilities, managed loads including electric vehicles, energy storage, and other measures necessary to incorporate renewable generation resources, including load management and ancillary services.

The ERC is giving interested parties to submit their comments on or before Oct. 21. It has also set public consultations on the revised rules next month in its field offices in the Visayas and Mindanao, and in its head office in Pasig City. — Victor V. Saulon