The year 2018 is a FIRST for the DOE: Fostering Innovation, Resiliency, and Sustainability in all areas of energy development. It was a year of innovation in terms of doing things in the DOE, as well as in forging strategic alliances within the Department and with all energy stakeholders. Heeding the call of the Secretary’s "mindset revolution," progress was made in the following areas:
To support the economic and infrastructure plans of the Duterte Administration, the country will need to double its power generating capacities over the next several years. This is one big challenge for the energy sector given that it already takes about four years to construct a power plant, without counting the delays encountered by project proponents in securing the necessary local and national permits for its construction.
Thus, the issuance of Executive Order (EO) No. 30 in June 2017 was a welcome development for the DOE since it acknowledges the urgency to improve the bureaucratic processes that are essential for the entry of critical investments in the energy sector. Under this law, the DOE will endorse energy projects considered as "Energy Projects of National Significance" (EPNS). Innovative provisions under the EO are the Presumption of Prior Approvals, which provides for government agencies’ processing of EPNS applications without awaiting action from other permitting agencies, as well as the provision of Action within 30 Days, which shortens the application processing period to 30 days upon submission of complete documentary requirements.
As of end of December 2018, there are 12 projects which have been certified as EPNS, including the PhP52 billion Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project - the first power project to be certified under EO 30.
The DOE has also started the implementation of the Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program (PCECP) to bolster investments in the upstream oil and gas sector. Under the PCECP, petroleum contracts are awarded either through nomination, which provides investors the option to propose potential areas for exploration and/or development, or via applications made for the Pre-Determined Areas offered by the Department.
For the coal sector, the DOE issued a Department Circular (DC), DC 2018-03-0006, streamlining the processing and issuance of tax exempt certificates.