Renewable Portfolio Standards to increase RE utilization

THE Department of Energy (DOE) is set to release soon a department circular on rules and guidelines governing the establishment of the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) in a bid to restore the share of renewable energy in the national energy mix.

According to the draft department circular, RPS refers to a market-based policy that requires power distribution utilities, electric cooperatives, and retail electricity suppliers (RES) to source an agreed portion of their energy supply from eligible renewable energy (RE) facilities.

"Based on the National Renewable Energy Program, our target is to increase the RE utilization by 35 percentz because right now we are only at 24 percent," said Jose Layug, Jr., National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) chairman.

Layug added that they are targeting to achieve the goal of a 35 percent RE utilization rate in the country by 2030 or 2040.

"We are also hoping that with RPS, bumalik ang Mindanao doon sa 2011 level, which is 70 percent RE," Layug said, adding that Mindanao's energy mix is presently at 60 percent non-RE and 40 percent RE.

The chairman said that the RPS will also spur the development of renewable energy in the country as it will mandate distribution utilities, electric cooperatives, and RES to source from renewable energy.

According to the draft circular, the RPS Rules will be adopted "in order to contribute to the growth of RE industry by diversifying energy supply, spur socio-economic development in rural areas, and help address environmental concerns of the country by reducing harmful emissions."

The scope of the circular shall include yearly minimum RPS requirements upon the establishment of the circular; annual minimum incremental percentage of electricity sold by each mandated participant which is required to be sourced from eligible RE resources and which shall, in no case, be less than one percent of its annual energy demand over the next ten years; types of eligible RE facilities and identification and certification of generating facilities using said resources; and means of compliance by the mandated participants of the minimum percentage set by the government to meet the RPS requirements.

Eligible RE facilities under the RPS rules include biomass, waste to energy technology, wind energy, solar energy, run-of-river hydroelectric power systems, impounding hydroelectric power systems, ocean energy, hybrid systems as defined in the RE Act, geothermal energy, and other RE technologies that may be later identified by DOE.

At present, the NREB, DOE, and the United States Agency International Development are conducting a series of public consultations on the RPS. After the consultations, they will endorse this to the DOE.
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