April 20, 2024

Department of Energy Sec. Raphael Lotilla underscored the importance of energy infrastructure that will interconnect the power supply across the country to attract more investments in the renewable energy (RE) sector and full electrification.

During the post-State of the Nation Address (SONA) discussion, Lotilla said there is a need to fast-track transmission projects in the country to connect RE output from facilities to consumers.

“Connectivity is at the core of renewable energy. We have got to connect the source to the market, and transmission is key,” he said.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. said in his second SONA that 126 RE contracts were awarded since last year, which have a combined potential capacity of 31,000 megawatts.

Lotilla said these RE projects and future investments will help the administration’s goal of 100 percent electrification among households by 2028.

The energy chief said by 2028, peak demand of electricity in the country will reach 25,000 MW from a current peak demand of 17,000 MW.

The country will need 8,000 MW additional capacity in five years to meet the power demand, of which, 43 percent will be renewables, he said.

“The role of the government is to support the initiatives of the private sector,” he added.

On the sidelines of the event, Lotilla told reporters that the comprehensive review on National Grid Corporation of the Philippines is expected to be completed within six months since the agency issued the department circular on the private concessionaire audit in June.

In his SONA, Marcos said the government is conducting a performance review of NGCP.

“I didn’t hear them (NGCP) say that the President cannot direct them to do so. I think they have expressed full cooperation for what the President is doing, and we expect them to live up to that,” Lotilla said.

“It’s a comprehensive review. We look at performance because we want to find out exactly what are the obstacles in carrying out these things.”

He said the NGCP review is “not to find fault, but to find the right solutions” to address the challenges in timely completion of transmission projects.

Citing a report from the Energy Regulatory Commission, Marcos said 68 transmission projects of the NGCP are “much delayed”.

“For the last 14 years that the NGCP had franchise for the transmission system, the Energy Regulatory Commission has reported that the length of the transmission system in the Philippines has increased by 8 percent in terms of circuit kilometers. And that pre-pandemic, the average increase has only been 1.05 percent, and the delays have even exceeded eight years in some projects,” Lotilla said.

The DOE chief underscored the need to speed up the delivery of these projects to attract more RE investments and energize the entire country. – PNA