August 23, 2023
In its bid to fast-track the implementation of renewable energy (RE) in the country, particularly on the off-grid and missionary areas, the Department of Energy (DOE), in collaboration with the “Clean, Affordable and Secure Energy for Southeast Asia” (CASE Philippines) and Reiner Lemoine Institut (RLI) recently conducted a training workshop on Simplified Planning Tool (SPT) Version 4 & 4.1 for off-grid electric power industry participants in Manila, Cebu, and Cagayan de Oro.
The CASE Program is a regional initiative jointly implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and international and local expert organizations in the area of sustainable energy transformation and climate change. In the Philippines, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) serves as its expert organization and the DOE is its political partner.
The series of training were attended by a total of 143 participants from off-grid distribution utilities (DUs) and generation companies (GenCos), and representatives from DOE, RLI, National Electrification Administration (NEA), and National Transmission Corporation (TransCo).
This training was designed to assist the Mandated Participants in planning and implementing their respective RPS compliance plans. The SPT is a Microsoft Excel planning tool that was developed by RLI under the guidance of DOE to determine the optimal hybrid system configuration per off-grid area under varied conditions. It is now on its 4th iteration and is acknowledged as one of the optimization software that can be used by Mandated Participants for calculating the optimal supply mix of the concerned off-grid area.
The RPS program is a component of the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 designed to encourage greater use of RE in the country. It mandates electricity suppliers to source a portion of their energy supply from eligible RE resources to contribute to the growth of the RE industry in the country.
Last year, the DOE raised the RPS requirement from one percent per annum to 2.52 percent per annum starting in 2023. As of December 2022, the current share of solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal and biomass energy in the power generation mix is approximately at 22 percent. However, with the increase in the annual RPS percentage, developers have more opportunities to invest in RE projects through the Competitive Selection Process (CSP), Green Energy Option Program (GEOP), and the Green Energy Auction Program (GEAP).
While there are initiatives to gradually increase the share of clean, affordable, and secure power sources in the country’s supply mix, off-grid areas still mostly rely on fossil fuels, such as diesel, to meet their energy demands. One solution to address these challenges is the hybridization of energy systems in off-grid areas, which will provide 24/7 power at a lower cost. The possible savings will also lower Universal Charge for Missionary Electrification (UCME) subsidies paid by on-grid consumers.
By transitioning to RE sources, off-grid communities can improve energy security and supply, reduce the environmental impacts of fossil fuels, and potentially lower electricity costs for both off-grid and on-grid areas over the long term.###