By Myrna M. Velasco
Four new energy projects had been accorded “certificates of energy project of national significance” (CEPNS) by the Department of Energy (DOE) entailing that they are entitled to streamlined project permitting and approval processes.
These CEPNS energy ventures include the Galoc field area and development which is an investment in the upstream oil and gas sector; and the Mahanagdong geothermal brine optimization plant of the Energy Development Corporation.
The two others are the Therma Marine, Inc. (TMI) battery energy storage system (BESS) project of the Aboitiz group; and the Mount Malinao geothermal project of Philippine Geothermal Production Company (PGPC) of the Sy group.
The grant of CEPNS entitlements to energy projects is being anchored on Executive Order No. 30 that was issued by President Rodrigo Duterte in June 2017.
The evaluation processes for these projects are done through the Energy Investment Coordinating Council (EICC) which will also do the recommendation to Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi for his final approval.
Based on the energy department’s data, it already received 368 project-applications for CEPNS since the policy was enforced two years ago; and of the total, 297 had been duly accepted by the EICC.
The DOE qualified that 71 of the lodged project-applications had been sent notices that they are not compliant “as to form and documentary requirements,” hence, these were no longer processed by the EICC.
Of the 297 applications that had been certified compliant by the EICC, the body noted that 140 were already certified as CEPNS; while 157 applications are still under evaluation.
The bulk of the projects bequeathed with CEPNS had been the transmission reinforcement and expansion projects of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and the energization ventures of the National Power Corporation.
Prior to the four new projects, the last one that was certified as “energy project of national significance” is the liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal venture of First Gen Corporation which is targeted to reach final investment decision (FID) early part of next year.
The Lopez firm will first put up a floating storage regassification unit (FSRU) to bring in gas prior to the 2024 lapse of the Malampaya service contract; then the next phase will be an onshore LNG terminal to cater to the country’s gas supply requirements for the long term.