THE National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) is just ironing out details in the Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) rules for Renewable Energy (RE) projects and expects it to be implemented by middle of this year.

Arthur Aguilar, chairman of NREB, said they are targeting to submit the final draft of the FIT rule before end of April to the Department of Energy and to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for approval.

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“By end of April we hope to submit it to the DOE and the ERC,” Aguilar told reporters during a press briefing on the two day-RE summit held at the Sofitel Hotel in Pasay City Thursday.

”We are on time,” Aguilar said, adding that the ERC targets to implement the rule by June.

Created under section 27 of the Renewable Energy Act, the NREB is the recommending advisory body on renewable energy policies that will monitor the implementation of action plans of the DOE.

Members of the Board are from the government, private sector and non-governmental organization. From the government side, one representative each will be from the DOE, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), National Power Corporation (Napocor), National Transmission Corp. (Transco) or its successor, Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) and the Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC).

For the private sector, one representative each will be from RE developers, distribution utilities, electric cooperatives and electricity suppliers. There will also be representatives from government financial institutions (GFIs) and non-governmental organizations as members of the Board.

Noting the complexity of the FIT rules because of five different technologies, namely solar, hydro, wind, biomass and ocean power projects, Aguilar, however, assured that they are doing their best to comply with the government’s target.

He said they created sub-committees to meet stakeholders in various technologies.

At present, the government is expecting to generate US$2 billion investment for RE projects from both local and foreign investment, Aguilar said.

The ERC set the public consultation on FIT rules on April 14.

The FIT rules intend to provide the regulatory framework for the implementation of the FIT mechanism in the country to promote and encourage deployment of energy from RE sources.

The FIT rules provide that technology specific FIT or different FIT for solar, wind, hydro and other sources.

FITS are the guaranteed price at which the RE developers will be paid for the energy that will be paid for the energy that they will produce and inject to the transmission and distribution system for use by the electricity end-users.

The FITS will be set by the ERC upon petition by the NREB and will have initially a duration of 15 years and will be subject to a degression rate to be determined by the regulatory body.

On the assurance that prices of electricity will be cheaper once RE is implemented, Aguilar said that it is also their hope but at this time it could not be safe to say that prices will go down because there are other costs and expenses that investors need to recover.

"To make it perfectly clear, when the feed in tariffs kick in you will see in your Meralco bill or power utility bill in your house an additional pick up from FIT-ALL. That's feed-in-tariff allowance. And we don't know, it could be several centavos; it could be higher than 10 centavos. We don't know yet, it is still speculation. But definitely it will go up but we don't think it will significantly go up,” Aguilar said.

Erramon Aboitiz, chairman of Aboitiz Power also admitted that rate under RE projects would not be cheaper but “over the long term it would be cheaper.” (MSN/Sunnex)