The race among renewable energy (RE) energy proponents to qualify for incentives via guaranteed energy rates under the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) system is heating up in the solar and wind categories, said the Department of Energy.
DOE senior science research specialist Jaime Planas said in an energy forum that so far, installed capacity for solar was 36.1 megawatts (MW) but there was 300 MW under development (over five years from now) and another 2,000 MW in the pre-development stage.
For wind, Planas said, there was 282.9 MW in place, another 1,600 MW under construction, and another 1,600 MW in pre-development.
The two technologies are currently “oversubscribed,” said DOE director Mario Marasigan. That is, there are more applications and planned developments than the required capacity under FIT.
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC)-approved installation capacities are: for run-of-river hydro (at a rate of P5.90 per kilowatt-hour), 250 MW; biomass (P6.63/kWh), 250 MW; wind (P8.53/kWh), 200 MW, and solar (P9.68/kWh), 50 MW.
National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) vice chair Ernesto Pantangco said the incentive called FIT Allowance was applicable only to the corresponding installation targets.
San Carlos Solar Energy (SaCaSol) in Negros Oriental is among the first R.E. developments certified under FIT, according to the ERC.
ERC executive director Francis Saturnino C. Juan said in a text message that FIT certificates of compliance (COCs) had so far been issued to the solar project Sacasol Phases 1A and 1B and to a biomass project.
TransCo FIT All team head Dina Dizon said not all R.E. capacities had been certified under FIT, which would determine whether the rates for next year would increase or decrease.
“There is an over- and under-recovery component. Under the guidelines, we will file in July 2015 for an adjustment in 2016. So there is an adjustment or true-up mechanism,” she said.
Pantangco said the capacities and timing of rollouts per technology would affect the FIT rate.
In February, distribution utilities such as the Manila Electric Co and electricity cooperatives in the provinces started collecting FIT rates from consumers as a new line item in customers’ bills. The rate for 2014 and 2015 is 4 centavos.
The rate applies to 400 MW of installed capacity under FIT out of a total initial installation target of 750 MW.
There are presently moves to increase the solar and wind installation capacities to 500 MW each.
Despite the intermittence of wind power generation, this RE resource can inject 500 MW of energy into the country’s power system, WWF-Philippines Climate Change Unit head Gia Ibay said in a statement.
The country’s national grid should have a power reserve capacity equal to or larger than its biggest power plant. This reserve prevents blackouts, even if the grid’s biggest plant shuts down.