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Quicker approval for projects

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Quicker approval for projects

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Finishing touches. Department of Energy 7 Director Antonio Labios says the implementing rules and regulations for the Energy Investment Coordinating Council are expected by November. (SunStar Foto/Arni Aclao)

POWER players may expect faster approval of power projects in the Visayas by year’s end as the Department of Energy (DOE) 7 anticipates the completion of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Executive Order 30, which created the Energy Investment Coordinating Council (EICC).

In the Power 101 forum yesterday hosted by Global Business Power at the City Sports Club in Cebu City, DOE 7 Director Antonio Labios said the EO, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on June 28, is the answer to the increasing power requirements of the country.

“Hopefully by November, we (the EICC) will be able to come up with the IRR,” said Labios.

Data from DOE 7 presented yesterday show that the country needs an additional power-generation capacity of 43,600 megawatts until 2040. In the Visayas alone, this is expected to soar to 9,200 MW, from the current demand hovering at 1,900MW.

Tedious process

Under the current procedure, GBP president Jaime Azurin said a power generation company needs to secure 400 signatures to open a powerplant facility anywhere in the country.

With an EO that created the EICC, the inter-agency council will have to act on applications related to the energy projects within 30 days after the submission of requirements.

The EO also prioritizes approving big-ticket power projects or formally referred as energy projects of national significance (EPNS), which includes power generation, transmission and ancilliary services.

For a project to be classified as EPNS, Labios said capital investment must be at least P3.5 billion and must have “significant environmental impact, significant contribution to economic development, and has complex technical processes and engineering designs.”

“For now, we have committed projects (in the Visayas) that are already ongoing (and have been approved), so we cannot count them as EPNS,” said Labios.

The EO also states that agencies must have “presumption of prior approvals.” This means that agencies that receive an application for an EPNS should process the application without waiting for the action of any other agency.

In his speech, Azurin raised the challenge faced by the power generation industry on how it can cope with the increasing power demand alongside the country’s fast-growing economy. He said the creation of the EICC and its promise of streamlining permits is one step to support the power sector.

Capacity

In the Visayas, DOE said total committed capacity as of August 2017 is at 408MW, while total indicative capacity is at 3,693 MW. “Committed” powerplant projects have already secured financial disclosures while the second has none yet.

Roughly 40 percent of the energy source in the Visayas is renewable.

The Philippine Energy Plan seeks to mainstream access to reliable and affordable energy services to fuel local productivity and countryside development.

Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on September 27, 2017.

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