MinDA pushes for increased RE share in Mindanao Power Mix
Key power players from the government and the private sector are mapping steps to provide Mindanao with a greener and renewable power supply in the next five years.
During the 5th principals meeting of the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (MPMC) held last week at the National Power Corporation Board Room, top officials from the power industry underscored the importance of advocating renewable energy (RE) as a primary source of electricity for the island-region.
“There are good things coming in for Mindanao and power is one of them,” said Secretary Luwalhati Antonino, chair of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) in her opening statement.
Antonino said that compared to the situation last year and the years before, the state of Mindanao power today had seen significant improvement with the immediate and medium term measures, stressing that even with the ongoing maintenance shutdown of Steag’s 200MW coal-fired power plant, majority of Mindanao did not experience rotating brownouts as reported by the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives (AMRECO).
She added that the Mindanao supply situation is even expected to have excess supply this year for the first time since 2009, with the expected coming online of Therma South’s 300MW and the first 100 of 200MW from Sarangani Energy Corp.
Antonino, however, noted that the expected entry of more baseload capacities from coal-fired power plants totaling 2,000MW until 2018 should be complemented by accelerated deployment of renewable energy projects such as hydro, biomass, geothermal, and solar.
She added that the One-Stop Facilitation and Monitoring of MPMC currently lists 231 RE projects across Mindanao that could potentially generate at least 2,419MW of sustainable power for the region between 2020 and 2025.
The surge of RE power applications can be attributed to the One-Stop Facilitation and Monitoring Center (OSFMC) Web Portal, an online database developed by MinDA and the Department of Energy (DoE) with the assistance of the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
Launched in October last year, the web-based mechanism aims to accelerate the duration of the permitting process for RE projects to one to two years instead of the usual three to five.
The same online monitoring facility initiated in Mindanao was also adapted by DoE that led to the formulation of the Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop (EVOSS), which will also provides the same services for power proponents in Luzon and Visayas regions.
“A diversified mix of fossil and renewable energy sources is integral to our overall strategy of pursuing balanced and holistic economic growth in Mindanao,” said Romeo Montenegro, MinDA’s director for Investment Promotions and Public Affairs.
He added that pursuing RE development is also aligned with the MinDA’s Mindanao 2020 Peace and Development Framework Plan, which recognizes power as a major enabling factor for socio-economic development.
Headways on LASURECO reforms
Meanwhile, also highlighted in the meeting were updates on the reforms and electrification program made by the Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative (LASURECO), whose management was taken over last year by a task force led by the Department of Energy (DOE).
DOE Assistant Secretary Matanog Mapandi, who concurrently serves as interim General Manager and President of LASURECO, reported that some 4,271 kWh meters have been cleaned and around 1,759 kWh meters installed to new member-consumers, while about 1,851 kWh meters have been calibrated and awaiting certification from the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
Mapandi revealed that a new meter reading and branding system had also been implemented to ensure a more efficient and effective collection of payments from among consumers.
Last year, DOE activated a rehabilitation task force to undertake reforms within LASURECO, which through the years had been confronted with collection efficiency problems, operations losses and ballooning debts.
According to Mapandi, the new measure includes a snap photo of every meter read which is also reflected in the monthly billing statements of the consumers. The move is in response to the inherent lack of accurate metering scheme which has led to financial constraints that greatly stifled LASURECO’s operations.
Established through Executive Order No. 81, MPMC plays an active part in spearheading and coordinating efforts of local, regional, and national government agencies and key power industry players to improve the overall power situation in Mindanao.
The MPMC is composed of officials and representatives from the DoE, MinDA, ERC, National Electrification Administration (NEA), National Power Corporation (NPC), National Grid Council of the Philippines (NGCP), Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM), Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives (AMRECO), National Transmission Corporation (Transco), and Mindanao Electric Power Alliance (MEPA).