(Taguig City). In the continuing effort to increase consumer access to clean and sustainable energy, the National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) is conducting a series of public consultations to promulgate a new policy on renewable energy (RE) utilization in the off-grid areas, or for consumers in remote areas like islands, mountains and far-away villages.
The consultations focus on the rules and guidelines for the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) for Off-grid areas, a policy mechanism requiring electric power industry participants such as generators, distribution utilities, and suppliers to source or produce a specified fraction of the electricity they generate from eligible RE resources.
The consultations are being held with the support of the Department of Energy and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Building Low Emission Alternatives to Develop Economic Resilience and Sustainability Project.
“The proposed RPS rules for off-grid areas will contribute to the growth of the renewable energy industry through increased development and utilization of RE resources in the countryside where significant percentage are using expensive fuels. Thus we will be able to diversify energy supply,” Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said.
“Ultimately, we see this to spur socio-economic development and help address environmental concerns,” he added.
The Luzon leg of the public consultations for RPS was conducted on 5 October in Puerto Princesa City and on 12 October in Pastor Village, Batangas City.
In the Visayas, the public consultation is scheduled Thursday (26 October) in Lahug, Cebu City.
On the other hand, the fourth and last leg of the public consultation will be on 6 November in Cagayan de Oro City.
Among the issues discussed during the earlier consultations include roles and responsibilities, pricing, competitive selection process and public bidding, monitoring and transparency, academic participation, long term plans and programs, technology, transmission, permitting, relevant RE policies and even international commitments on greenhouse gas emission reduction.
The public consultations were attended by participants from national government agencies, RE proponents and developers, distribution utilities, electric cooperatives and the academe, among other energy stakeholders.
Led by NREB RPS Off-grid Committee Chair Urbano Mendiola and NREB Chairman Atty. Jose Layug Jr., the public consultations provided a venue to present the latest draft of the RPS Off-grid guidelines and to gather comments and suggestions from stakeholders before its implementation.
The DOE also welcomes additional recommendations on the NREB proposed policy from the public, especially from the primary RE stakeholders. All interested stakeholders may send comments until 10 November 2017 at email: firstname.lastname@example.org. An electronic copy of the NREB proposed policy is downloadable at the DOE official website: www.doe.gov.ph.
The issuance of the RPS guidelines is based on Republic Act No. 9513 or the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, which aims to increase the utilization of RE by enhancing national and local capabilities.