June 24, 2024

Entities and renewable energy suppliers can anticipate improvements in the rules and regulations surrounding the Green Energy Option Program (GEOP), with the view of addressing the low participation of end-users and suppliers of the program.

“We are in the process of reviewing the (GEOP) policies and guidelines and trying to reconcile issues to have a harmonized implementation of the program. We will be hearing your suggestions on how to improve GEOP. It is important to voice out your concerns about the program,” Department of Energy Asec. Mylene Capongcol said.

The DOE has been featuring success stories and gathering input from stakeholders that will inform policy amendments to improve GEOP through the series of information, education, and communication campaigns (IEC) on GEOP and other renewable energy voluntary programs, in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development-Energy Secure Philippines, which concluded its last leg in Iloilo City on May 9.

Over two years since its launch, GEOP has demonstrably reduced electricity costs for participating businesses and other entities, while also accelerating their progress towards achieving their sustainability goals.

“After switching, we were able to reduce our carbon footprint, enhance our working conditions, and improve our public image. We also had savings on energy costs and operational costs. We had millions of savings since our renewable energy supplier offered a 35 percent generation rate discount compared to our previous host distribution utility,” Zandro Flores, Facilities Manager of Philippine IINO Corporation, said during the event.

Even so, GEOP has seen only a minimal uptake in participation due to the lack of public awareness of the program, as highlighted by the RE Energize PH Survey presented by Ian Soqueño, the Energy Program Lead of Climate Reality Philippines.

“There is little to no awareness about GEOP. It was only through our communication with them that they knew about it. Prior to that, they didn’t know what GEOP was or what the program was about,” he said.

Climate Reality Philippines identified additional challenges that hinder businesses to participate in GEOP.

They often struggle to meet the 100 kWh minimum peak demand threshold required for GEOP participation.

Misconceptions also persist regarding a complex registration process and concerns about power reliability with renewable energy sources.

Flores shared the Philippine IINO Corporation’s experience with GEOP, dispelling these misconceptions and inspiring other businesses to consider GEOP.

“We just provided my renewable energy supplier the necessary information, then after two to three weeks, they sent back all the documents for signature. After that, we just waited for our schedule to switch,” he said.

“Prior to and after the switching to renewable energy through GEOP, we never encountered reliability issues with the power supply. There were no interruptions in our electricity with GEOP”

ACEN Corporation, a renewable energy supplier in GEOP, also urged distribution utilities to provide potential GEOP switchers with free access to their 12-month load profile data.

This mirrors the approach currently used for customers of Retail Competition Open Access (RCOA), an energy mechanism allowing contestable customers with more than 500 kWh peak demand to choose their retail electricity supplier.

This request stems from reports that some distribution utilities are charging fees for GEOP consumers to access their load profile data.

Another concern about GEOP is the limited number of registered renewable energy suppliers in the program.

There are currently only 18 suppliers under GEOP, with some renewable energy suppliers reportedly hesitant to join the program because they could not guarantee the 100 percent renewable energy supply and replacement power requirement as a supplier.

Climate Reality Philippines also welcomed DOE’s consideration to pool in supply from various RE suppliers to address the growing demand in GEOP.

Above all, increasing the country’s capacity on renewable energy through investments and infrastructure projects is paramount to supplying more entities with 100 percent renewable energy.

DOE is committed to making GEOP more accessible for consumers and suppliers which is why the agency intends to harmonize the registration process of GEOP with RCOA, as well as explore rules on aggregation to allow multiple consumers to combine their energy needs to meet the current 100 kWh minimum peak demand threshold.

Capongcol highlighted GEOP’s potential as a driver for renewable energy development. The growing demand for 100 percent renewable energy through GEOP signals to investors and generation companies that it’s high time to fast-track renewable energy projects in the Philippines.

The DOE also tapped the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities and the Climate Reality Philippines to develop policy recommendations to address the challenges faced by consumers and suppliers within GEOP, as well as to conduct another series of IEC campaigns on GEOP in other ecozones.

This year, Climate Reality Philippines is also set to conduct a survey on GEOP bearing insights from renewable energy suppliers and a research study to report the socioeconomic benefits of the program thus far. – Press release