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Monday, November 20, 2017

DOE crafts incentives for RE installations in off-grid islands

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By Myrna M. Velasco

The Department of Energy (DOE) is working on a formula that will incentivize deployments of renewable energy (RE) technologies along off-grid domains via the renewable portfolio standards (RPS) system.

This is being leveraged on the policy recommendation being sorted out by the National Renewable Energy Board.

But turning the RPS viable in areas already suffering from intermittent power supply and with very limited scale could be a very challenging precept for the department – that it might need to seriously study first the literal ‘nuts and bolts’ of the RE technologies because these could serve as limiting factor to the propounded installations.

In fact, instituting RPS even at on-grid domains already has tough challenges, hence, it is anticipated that it would even more so in off-grid sites. The DOE said the proposed RPS for off-grid areas will cover those in the islands, mountains and other far-flung areas.

With the RPS, the power generators and utilities serving customers in these jurisdictions will need to source prescribed portion or percentage of their supply portfolio from RE-generating sources.

According to Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi, “the proposed RPS rules for off-grid areas will contribute to the growth of the renewable industry through increased development and utilization of RE in the countryside where significant percentage are using expensive fuels.”

He said this is also aligned with the intent to diversify energy supply in the off-grid areas, which had traditionally relied on fossil fuel-fired power generation.

In the ongoing consultation, it was noted that issues being discussed are those on pricing, competitive selection process (CSP) and public bidding, long-term plans and programs, technology options, capacity transmission, project permitting as well as other relevant RE policies.

Cusi is at least wishing that if the often-interrupted power supply in off-grid areas would be squarely addressed, this could spur their economic developments and uplift the lifestyles of end-consumers in these jurisdictions.

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