Faster approval process for renewable energy plants sought
by Philippine Resources - October 18, 2021
Photo credit: SMA Solar Technology - Catalagan Solar Farm
A lawmaker on Monday appealed to the Department of Energy (DOE) to expedite the process of approvals for power plants, especially for renewable energy (RE), as the possibility of “energy crunch” looms due to the impact of oil price hikes.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said the possible “energy crunch”, or a rise in power and fuel costs, by mid-2022 can cause major problems for countries like the Philippines that import non-renewables for its energy needs, as it could dampen economic recovery.
“The world is facing what could be a year of price hikes on coal, oil, natural gas, and other non-renewable energy sources. We are facing a confluence of factors. Oil is back where it was pre-pandemic. Natural gas is at all-time highs,” Salceda said.
In response to disruptions and price hikes in fossil fuels, he recommended that the country diversify its energy portfolio quickly.
“RE is just 24 percent of our energy sources, when we are both a net importer of fossil fuels, and an excellent location for all sorts of RE. One problem appears to me to be the approval process,” he said.
He noted that the Renewable Energy Law imposes much more requirements on RE players than on traditional fossil fuel plants, which tend to discourage rather than encourage RE power plants.
“We may need to review the Renewable Energy Law to see how we can expedite approval processes. The pre-development stage also tends to be long, up to three years, so we have to see how we can move quicker with that stage,” Salceda said.
He said the ideal mix should be at least 40 percent renewable energy.
“Our international commitment is to get that up to 35 percent by 2030, but we should do ourselves better by aiming for 40 percent, since almost all of our fossil fuels are imported,” Salceda said.
Salceda also suggested that DOE should be a more regular part of discussions on the country’s economic recovery.
“I’ve seen the national employment recovery strategy (NERS) and it says nothing about new power plants, which we sorely need, and which will definitely create new jobs. It’s not even in the National Employment Recovery task force,” he said.
He said approving the creation of pending power plant applications will create new jobs.
“You also need cheap power to create jobs. Moving forward, I hope the DOE is part of discussions on our economic recovery. Power costs remain an investor concern and a dampener on economic recovery,” he said. By Filane Mikee Cervantes
Article courtesy of Philippine News Agency
Philippine Resources - October 18, 2021
Siguil Hydro Power Plant in Sarangani On-Schedule to deliver Renewable Energy in 2022
The Alsons Power group’s 14.5 mega-watt (MW) ₱ 4.5 billion run- of- river hydroelectric power plant at the Siguil River basin in Maasim, Sarangani Province is on- track to begin operations in 2022 to provide a source of renewable power to key areas of Mindanao. The photo shows ongoing work on the plant’s powerhouse that will contain the hydropower turbine and generator set which will produce electricity using water from the Siguil River. It will also house the power facility’s control Room and offices for administration, operations and maintenance. Alsons Power- Mindanao’s firs private sector power generator plans to develop at least seven more run of river hydro power facilities in different parts of Mindanao and Negros Occidental. The group currently operates four power facilities in Mindanao with a total generating capacity of 468 MW serving over 8 million people in 14 cities and 11 provinces.
Philippine Resources - November 15, 2021
New RE plan targets 35% share of power generation by 2030
Photo credit: PhilStar The Philippines' proposed National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) 2020-2040 is setting a target of 35 percent share of renewable energy (RE) in the power generation mix by 2030 and 50 percent share by 2040. This was bared by Director Mylene C. Capongcol, OIC of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Renewable Energy Management Bureau, who in a recent online presentation acknowledged that instead of growing, the share of RE in the power generation mix has actually declined. She noted that in 2008, the year the Renewable Energy Act was passed, the share of RE was about 34 percent. Now it is down to 21 percent, or 21,609 gigawatt-hours (GWh), out of a total 101,756 GWh of power generated. The government is looking to revert the share of RE to 35 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2040 under the updated NREP, Capongcol said. The NREP sets the roadmap for achieving the country's RE goals as required by the Renewable Energy Act of 2008. Republic Act No. 9513, or the Renewable Energy Act, provides the framework for the development, utilization, and commercialization of RE sources, defined as resources that can be replenished regularly and are available indefinitely. These include biomass, solar, wind, geothermal, ocean energy, hydropower, and other emerging RE technologies. The Act affirms the government’s commitment to accelerate the utilization of RE resources in the country to reduce harmful emissions and achieve economic development while protecting the health and environment. The transition to RE from carbon-intensive energies has become even more urgent in light of the massive destruction being wrought by climate change and uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions not just in the country but on a global scale. Capongcol, during the webinar, said the proposed NREP will be released soon. The updated plan seeks to help attain energy security, contribute to sustainable development, counter climate change, provide capability building, and secure inclusive growth for the country. To achieve the targets under the updated NREP 2020-2040, she said that while there have been a number of policies, initiatives, and programs that were developed and issued since 2011, “this is not enough.” “There are still a lot of improvements, a lot of new policies, emerging ones, that will support renewable energy development” to enable the country to meet its goals of self-sufficiency and cleaner energy," she said. She added that the DOE currently has innovative programs that are looking at the potentials of hydrogen, fusion, offshore wind, tidal energy, and other technologies. The DOE is also working on an expanded solar rooftop program and the improvement of solid waste management, while at the same time drafting a policy on geothermal energy development. Meanwhile, Jay Layug, president of Developers of Renewable Energy for Advancement, sought further improvements in the sector, citing the need in particular to upgrade the power infrastructure for RE such as building more power plants and improving transmission lines and distribution facilities. “Demand for power continues to grow and in the meantime supply is a problem,” he said, pointing out that many power plants in the country are at least 15 years old and starting to deteriorate. To solve these issues, Layug said the national government and local government units must address the challenges to private sector investment, including restrictive government regulations, rigid process for offtake agreements, numerous requirements for permits and licenses, and a lack of integration in government support. He also pressed for the pursuit of policy reform, particularly by declaring renewables as the preferred energy resource, to reduce the importation of fossil fuel and vulnerability to price volatility. His other recommendations included strengthening public-private partnerships; creating a one-stop-shop for RE; simplifying the rules for deployment of personnel, vessels, machinery, equipment spare parts and materials; and resolving inter-agency coordination issues. In the same webinar by the Liveable Cities Challenge Philippines, British Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Beaufils, in her message highlighted the importance of utilizing RE in the country. “The transition to clean and renewable energy sources, such as geothermal, hydro, wind and solar, which are already abundant in the Philippines, will help end the dependence on expensive imported fuel and lower electricity costs especially for lower-income, climate-vulnerable Filipino families,” Beaufils said. Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency
Philippine Resources - December 01, 2021
A grand slam in responsible mining
Photo credit: Hinatuan Mining A grand slam win for a mining company simply means being the best in class in its responsible conduct of business; in its forest management and environment enhancement and protection; its social responsibility programs and in providing safety in the workplace and the communities. Hinatuan Mining Corp. (HMC), a subsidiary of Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC) sweeps major honors this year from the country’s most prestigious award-giving body in the mining industry – the Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Award (PMIEA). “It’s our first time and it’s a grand slam! We still can’t believe it but that these awards were accorded to us during this most difficult time of the pandemic, makes this moment doubly exulting, everyone was emotional when the news first broke, this is the reason for our existence, says Engr. Francis Arañes, HMC’s Resident Mine Manager. HMC, with operations in Hinatuan Island, Tagana-an, Surigao del Norte, takes home the Presidential award for surface mining operations; the Best Mining Forest in the Metallic category; the winner of the Safest Surface Mining Operations; and the winner of the Safest Mining Operation; plus, the individual awards of Best Surface Safety Inspector and Best Surface Miner accorded to HMC’s employees, Aldrin L. Resullar and Jennifer Q. Inting, respectively. The PMIEA is the highest accolade awarded to a mining company. The evaluation and assessment for this year’s awardees encountered extra challenges with the threats of COVID-19 in the backdrop where movements were limited, the economy threatened, operations delayed, and bringing services to the communities were among the biggest challenge to the company’s community workers. HMC had set its eyes on these awards for years. The company remains steadfast, focusing on specific goals that the award giving body monitors and measures, such as the actual number of hectares to be rehabilitated as mandated by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), even going outside of their areas of responsibility in supporting the Philippine National Greening Program (NGP); building a robust forest within the mine site, highlighting eco-tourism programs; setting up its host and neighboring communities to sustainable economic development programs; among other things. And to ensure that compliance is above and beyond its mandate, HMC underscores the efficiency of reporting, of transparency, giving importance to its Information, Education and Communication (IEC) programs. “The bar in honoring mining companies has been set even higher, what with the added focus on the principles of ESG – Environment, Social and Governance – in the midst of ongoing debates about climate change,” says Engr. Aloysius C. Diaz, NAC SVP and Head of Production. Diaz says the miners, HMC in particular, are now even more cognizant of peer reviews because the world has become more critical in holding the industry accountable for a greener, healthier, and safer future. PMIEA evaluates all facets of a mining company’s responsible and sustainable business practices, keenly focusing on environmental protection and management; and ensuring the health and safety of employees and the total wellbeing of the people in the communities that they serve. The Hinatuan mine site, also known as the “Tagana-an Nickel Project”, is located in Hinatuan Island, Barangay Talavera, municipality of Tagana-an, province of Surigao del Norte. Its area of operations is within the Surigao Mineral Reservation.
Philippine Resources - December 01, 2021
Nuclear, solar eyed as alternatives to PH energy mix
Photo: Bataan nuclear power plant Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is considering nuclear and solar energy as a possible alternative or additional sources of energy in the country. Gatchalian, Senate energy committee chairman, said he favors “in principle” smaller nuclear reactors instead of the bigger ones for flexibility and safety. “Small ones are more flexible and safer. Safer in the sense that it is smaller, deployable, and has the technology that can use nuclear wastes. Of course, it is still in the development stage,” he said in a radio interview on Monday. He said small nuclear reactors can produce energy from 10 to 150 megawatts. Gatchalian, however, does not consider reviving the Bataan nuclear power plant as it will be too risky and too costly to rehabilitate the facility. He said many are also using solar energy with some big companies putting up solar power plants. “I believe it could be part of the energy transition because nuclear is emission-free but the risk is where to put the wastes and if it encounters a problem, the cost is too high. Solar deployment is still a challenge because it is still quite expensive,” he added. Gatchalian said he will file a bill on energy transition following the Department of Energy’s (DOE) move last year banning new coal power plants to accelerate the country’s shift to cleaner energy. “We cannot hasten the energy transition because we will have no source of energy… The energy transition can be 10 years or longer but the important thing is it’s a scientific process to determine how we can transition out of fossil fuel into renewable safely, reliably, and securely,” he said. He added that right now, the country’s energy needs are still good with fossil fuel but it is imperative to jumpstart the transition due to the increasing population and industries. Gatchalian was here on Sunday to turn over his donation of 5,000 sets of personal protective equipment and 50 sacks of slippers to the Region 1 Medical Center. By Hilda Austria Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency
Philippine Resources - December 01, 2021
Gas drilling in Recto Bank should push through: Pimentel
Photo credit: Inkl The chair of the House Strategic Intelligence Committee on Tuesday said oil drilling activities in Recto Bank must proceed as scheduled amid rising tensions with China. Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel said the Sampaguita gas field could yield up to USD18.2 billion, or around PHP910 billion, in future royalties for the government, based on a 60 percent net share. “We have no choice but to carry on with the drilling activities because the Sampaguita gas discovery in Recto Bank has the potential to energize the entire national grid – not just Luzon – for the next 20 to 30 years,” Pimentel said. Pimentel said Sampaguita is “an untapped value-changing asset” that would be valuable to the country’s future energy security with up to 4.6 trillion cubic feet of gas, while Malampaya, which has been producing gas for the last 20 years, has only 1.6 trillion cubic feet of residual gas at best. “There is even one study suggesting that the entire Recto Bank has up to 20 trillion cubic feet of potential gas in place,” Pimentel said. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled in July 2016 that Recto Bank is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, as defined under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea. By virtue of the ruling, Pimentel said the Philippines enjoys absolute rights to exploit all resources in the seamount. Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency