July 27, 2011, 2:13am
By MYRNA M. VELASCO
MANILA, Philippines — The inclusion of the existing 33-megawatt capacity of Northwind Power Development Corporation in the proposed 200 megawatts of installation targets for wind has been drawing opposition from the National Renewable Energy Board (NREB).
During the July 22 meeting of NREB, the member-stakeholders in the board manifested opposition to the Northwind capacity’s addition “in the 200MW allocation for the wind sector” as set by the Department of Energy in the final installation targets.
The Board agreed that “it will file a motion with the ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission) to clarify the matter, and make a ruling, particularly on the source of fund for special FITs (feed-in-tariffs),” such as the P9.30 per kilowatt hour (kWh) granted to Northwind.
It has been emphasized that “it is NREB’s position that the main consideration for calculating the installation targets were new projects and did not include existing operating RE (renewable energy) plants.”
The rules set by ERC allow the availments of FITs by existing RE projects as long as the rate granted would be lower than the level petitioned for by the NREB for each technology.
In a related development, there have been reports that the August 3 public hearing on the FIT application of NREB may be deferred purportedly due to some “technicalities” raised in the publication requirement. After the initial
process in Manila, subsequent public hearings are scheduled in Cebu on August 9; and August 11 in Davao. The ERC clarified though that as of July 25, “the August 3 hearing has not yet been cancelled.”
NREB chairman Pete Maniego Jr. is expected to do an expository presentation on the FIT petition and experts from each sector of RE developments will do separate discussions on their respective FIT calculations.
Power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) already filed its motion for intervention, as well as the other affected stakeholders, such as some distribution utilities, National Power Corporation, National Grid Corporation of the Philippines and advocacy groups.
It was gathered that of all the parties dipping their hands into the RE development paradigm, NREB has highest apprehension over the issues being raised by the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF), primarily on the level of subsidies being reproached by former finance official Romeo Bernando.
The ERC sets an internal timeline of 90 days to approve the FIT application. It is widely believed in the industry though that the implementation of the FIT charges may already skid to next year.