Editorial: More renewable energy plants needed

AROUND 2013 to 2015, Mindanao was in the midst of a power crisis. Various areas in the island experienced rotational brownouts due to the lack of power supply. The demand for power had risen back then but power investments were slow to enter.

Around the late of 2015 up until the present, the power situation in the island has become better except for those areas with other issues aside from the power supply.

However, despite the better power supply in the island, the mix of power resources has shifted. Prior to the Mindanao power crisis, more than 50 percent of the island's power mix is coming from renewable energy sources particularly from the 982 megawatt (MW) Agus-Pulangi Hydropower Complexes.

Post power crisis, 2017 data from the Department of Energy (DOE) showed that 64 percent of the 3,559 MW installed capacity in Mindanao is coming from non-renewable energy. Coal accounts for 39 percent of the total installed capacity in the island while 25 percent is coming from oil. The remaining 36 percent is coming from renewable energy sources with the bulk of it from hydropower plants.

In DOE's Power Supply Outlook 2018-2040, coal's share in the island's power mix will nearly double at 67 percent while RE will drop to 28 percent and oil to only five percent.

Hence, there is still a need for the government to fast track the entry and development of renewable energy investments in Mindanao.

Renewable energy investors will need to wait five to seven years for all their documents to be completed before they can start the construction of their power plants. Non-renewable energy plants will only need three to five years to complete their documents.

It is also good to note that the government is already implementing initiatives to hasten the processing of the investors of their documents.

However, lowering the number of years or time of the processing of documents is not enough. Government agencies must also find ways to improve or streamline their requirements to be more efficient.

If we are pushing for a greener or balanced power sector in Mindanao, the government must step up its efforts to bring in renewable energy investors and help in the facilitation of their establishment.


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