DOE wants maximum utilization of cordillera’s water resources

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Baguio city – The maximum utilization of the rich water resources of the Cordillera for power generation and production of renewable energy must be done by competent hydro power developers and even rural electric cooperatives who are capable of doing so,” Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said here.

Petilla cited there is a need to increase the renewable energy in the country’s grids to a maximum of 30 percent of the growing demand to allow a substantial mix between renewable energy and energy from coal and diesel plants.

“We continue to advocate for the development of potential renewable energy sources like in the Cordillera where there are substantial areas of development in order to increase the availability of renewable energy in the grid<”Secretary Petilla stressed.

At present, the country has over 11,000 megawatts of supposed renewable energy in various forms, hydro, geothermal, solar and wind, but the tapped sources only produce some 1,000 to 2,000 megawatts which is below the required 30 percent of renewable power that must be infused in the grid.

Secretary Petilla explained the development of new hydro power plants take a maximum of five years, thus, the need for interested hydro power developers to start the development of their power plants so that the renewable power that they will produce will be infused to the grid within the fifth or sixth year depending on the pace of their development.

In the case of the Mindanao grid, which encountered serious rotating power outages over the past several years, the DOE official disclosed there are already several hydro power plants that will be commissioned in time for the summer season in order to generate added power that will lessen the impact of prolonged power outages in the grid.

In the Luzon and Visayas grids that are already inter-connected, Secretary Petilla said the slim difference between the power supply and demand will definitely result to rotational power outages during the summer months, thus, the implementation of the government’s interruptible load program (ILP) where big loaders are mandated to cut off their connection from the grid for several hours or during their peak hours and use their generators in exchange for the return of their fuel cost.

Secretary Petilla said he is in favour of financially stable rural electric cooperatives to venture in power generation in their respective franchise areas so that they will be able to contribute in the responsible development and utilization of abundant water resources and help in the development of host communities while providing them cheap and reliable power.

He explained the energy department will cancel the service contracts earlier issued by his predecessors, especially to those contracts that exist but were not able to undergo the appropriate processes due to lack of finances among the investors, and work out the award of the service contracts to qualified developers and cooperatives in order to increase the available renewable energy in the Luzon grid.

He said the energy department allow the further development of coal plants because it could be easily commissioned and that their cost of construction is much lesser compared to the development and subsequent commissioning of renewable hydro power plants.

By Dexter A. See

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