By Myrna Velasco
The Department of Energy (DOE) has indicated that investment in the targeted liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal for the country will be a prime candidate for certification as energy project of national significance (EPNS), a mandate under Executive Order No. 30 that was issued by Malacanang last year.
According to Energy Undersecretary Jesus Cristino P. Posadas, who is also the chair of the Energy Investment Coordinating Council (EICC), the LNG terminal “will certainly be considered for EPNS certification.” The EICC is the inter-agency body chaired by the DOE that has been mandated by Presidential edict to evaluate and approve energy projects of national significance.
At this stage though, the department disclosed that of the 34 official applications for declaration as EPNS, dominance is on the sphere of coal energy projects – either as power plant or coal mining ventures.
In the DOE’s roll of EPNS applications received, 12 are coal-underpinned projects; 11 are oil and gas ventures; 10 are in the renewable energy (RE) sector; and one is a transmission project. The lone transmission project in the list is the P52 billion Visayas-Mindanao Interconnection Project (VMIP) of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, which so far had been the first project bestowed with EPNS certificate.
The energy department has been receiving EPNS applications for both projects on pre-development as well as those that are already approaching commerciality – as based on the dictum of EO 30.
As explained by energy officials, the process in securing certificate of EPNS (CEPNS) for projects shall be multi-tiered: starting with the lodging of application and receipt of such by the DOE; then that will have to go through the assessment process of the EICC Secretariat.
If the energy project is in sync with the Philippine Energy Plan (PEP), the next step shall be endorsement to the Centralized Review and Evaluation Committee (C-REC) for further evaluation.
If the C-REC had thoroughly gauged the project’s compliance to all requirements, then the proponent-entity shall be duly informed of the approval or rejection of its EPNS application.
If the final evaluation and decision shall be in the affirmative, then the project will be correspondingly endorsed to the Secretary for approval and signing of the CEPNS – but this has to be channeled first through the Undersecretary of the Energy Policy and Planning Bureau (EPPB) of the department.
Posadas said there had been deluge of applications for EPNS, but the department has been reviewing them judiciously, to calculatedly ascertain which ventures are warranted to be declared as such – at least to separate them from the project designs being dangled by flippers.