Lukewarm PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 19 March 2017 15:48

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

San Jose, CA. — There’s a lot of talk about moving away from coal-energized power and embracing Renewable Energy (RE), claiming that the latter is cheaper. On the contrary, it isn’t.

RE providers such as solar enjoy Feed-In Tariff (FIT) rates which, according to computation, will increase the cost of electricity in the country. Consumers are paying P0.12 per kilowatt hour whether or not they are direct recipients to that source of power. How much, for example, is the solar power contract of Enfinity with Zamcelco? If the contract is not in the FIT cycle, how much are consumers paying for such a connection?

The Department of Energy is “lukewarm” to granting a third round of FIT rates to RE producers because of its effect on the cost of electricity. DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi said: “For now, we don’t want too much FIT because it runs up to 20 years and it’s overburdening our consumers. We want to bring down our electricity rates. But how low can we bring it down if we keep on giving FIT?”

FIT refers to the fixed rates received by RE producers such as solar, wind, biomass and mini-hydro plants. When Cusi took over the DOE, he promised to bring down the cost of electricity in the country, which remains one the highest in the world.

The FIT is also an incentive to RE developers under the Renewal Energy Law of 2008. Cusi added, “we can get the FIT from other sources.” He also wants the Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA) promptly implemented this year so that consumers in the qualified threshold can already exercise “power of choice” in contracting for their electricity needs.

This is late in coming, but worth the writing. The Alsons Power Group has received the ISO certificate on environment for two of its power group’s diesel-fired plants.

Mr. Tirso G. Santillan, Jr., the group’s executive vice president and chief executive officer, described the ISO certifications as “a clear assurance that we are treading the right path.”

The certifications were given to the 100-megawatt diesel plant Western Mindanao Power Corporation facility in Sangali, Zamboanga city and the Southern Philippines Power Corporation’s 55-mw diesel plant in Alabel, Sarangani province.

The Alsons’ units met the standard in seven months or way ahead of the three-year assessment period. Alsons said: “the ISO 14001 standard is considered the most important within the ISO 14000 series as it specifies the requirements of an environmental management system for both small and large organizations.”

It also means that the two plants are “proactively mitigating environmental impacts with innovative steps and processes.” It further proves that the two plants are compliant with laws and regulations.

Santillan added: “We value this accreditation because it boosts the continuity and sustainability of the business through improved resource efficiency, reduced waste products, prevented risks and maximized opportunities. Moreover, this accreditation is a firm testament of our commitment to protecting the environment and the communities where we live and work.”