More renewable energy sources for Mindanao pushed

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 26 July) – The National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) said it wants more green energy firms to invest in Mindanao to reverse the current power mix of Mindanao by having more renewable source than non-renewable.

The Agus VI hydroelectric plant at the foot of Maria Cristina Falls in Iligan City. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

During the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) public consultation at the SMX Convention Center Davao Wednesday, National Renewable Energy Board chairman Jose Layug Jr. said Mindanao’s current power mix is composed of 60 percent non-renewable and 40 percent renewable.

He said he hopes to generate more interests from renewable energy (RE) investors for them to look into Mindanao as the cost of the clean power sources are starting to go cheaper.

Layug said he wants the Mindanao power mix to go back to what it used to be with 70 percent renewable and only 30 percent non-renewable.

“Our preference of course is to have more renewable energy,” he stressed.

Based on the 2016 report of the Department of Energy, the non-renewable energy accounts for more than half of Mindanao’s power mix, a reversal from what it used to be at least a year ago when renewable energy, mostly hydro, was the majority in the island’s power source.

Of Mindanao’s total installed capacity of 3,162 megawatts, the contribution of non-renewable energy is 1,898 MW (1,070 MW coal and 828 MW diesel), which accounts for 60 percent of the energy mix. Renewable sources, meanwhile, account for only about 40 percent with a contribution of 1,264 MW (108 MW geothermal, 1,061 MW hydro, 36 MW biomass, and 59 MW solar).

Majority of the hydro power source comes from the state-run Agus-Pulangui Hydro Power Complexes with an installed capacity of 982.1 MW. There are seven hydroelectric plants in Mindanao: Agus 1, Agus 2, Agus 4, Agus 5, Agus 6, and Agus 7 in the Lanao provinces; and Pulangui 4 in Bukidnon.

From 2015 to 2016, three coal plants with a combined capacity of 700 MW were commissioned – AboitizPower Corp.’s 300-MW Therma South Inc. in Brgy. Binugao, Toril; the 300-MW coal-plant of the San Miguel Consolidated Power Corporation in Malita, Davao Occidental; and first 100-MW unit of the Alcantara-led Sarangani Energy Corp. (SEC).

Layug said that they want to increase the contribution of renewable power from 24 percent to 35 percent, or at least 9,000 to 10,000 MW should be added to the overall power mix of the Philippines by 2030.

He said the DOE promotes biomass waste-to-energy technology, wind, solar, hydropower, ocean, and geothermal.

The DOE issued a department circular, which provides the rules and guidelines governing the establishment of the renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

Under Section 3.b, it states “that the annual minimum incremental percentage of electricity sold by each mandated participant which is required to be sourced from eligible RE sources and which shall, in no case, be less than one percent of its annual energy demand for the next 10 years.”

Layug said Mindanao currently enjoys an excess in power supply but demand for power has been increasing continuously.

“Our demand for power is not fixed – it’s increasing, especially with Mindanao. With all these activities, we anticipate increase of demand in power so I don’t think we will get a problem. There’s excess supply in Mindanao,” he said.

“At some point in time, you will connect Mindanao with Luzon and Visayas. Whatever excess there is in Mindanao will be shared with Luzon and Visayas so I don’t think it’s going to be a problem,” Layug said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)