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Saturday, March 23, 2019

Hasten RE project applications

IN A bid to push for cleaner and greener energy sources in Mindanao, key regional government agencies involved in the permitting process of renewable energy (RE) projects have expressed commitment to accelerate processing and updating of RE project applications in various regions on the island.

This commitment was obtained during a recent regional rounds made by the Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) to provide operational updates on the implementation of the One Stop Facilitation and Monitoring Center (OSFMC), a web-based portal for tracking RE applications in Mindanao.

At present, there are 290 pending RE power project applications in Mindanao with a potential combined capacity of 2,998.09 megawatts (MW).

Desktop computer sets with built-in software that will allow for effective monitoring of all pending RE project applications in Mindanao were turned over to the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources-Environment Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) Regions X and XII, and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Regions IX, X and XII in simple ceremonies from July 14 to 23 at their respective offices.

"Through these computer units provided by the USAid B-Leaders Project for this initial batch of regional agencies, there would be a dedicated facility with access to the OSFMC web portal that consolidates the data of all RE applications in Mindanao," according to Romeo Montenegro, Minda director for investment promotions and public affairs office
Launched in October last year, the OSFMC web portal was designed to effectively monitor and update the status as well as facilitate the speedy processing of the pending RE project applications in Mindanao. As part of the government response to the 2012 Mindanao Power Summit recommendations, the portal was established through MinDA in partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE) and USAid's B-Leaders or Building Low Emission Alternatives to Develop Economic Resilience and Sustainability Project.

"OSFMC's web portal will help track the RE project applications though a monitoring system that includes real-time status updates for partner government agencies and project stakeholders," Montenegro said.

Created through the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (MPMC), the OSFMC was a mechanism established to speed up the approval of application permits for RE power projects in Mindanao. Its operations hub was opened to public in May this year and is currently housed at the MinDA office.

According to Minda, of the total power project applications, 242 of which are hydropower projects with a combined potential capacity of 2,147.71 MW. Also in the pipeline are 28 solar energy projects with a combined potential capacity of 427.25 MW, 12 biomass energy power projects with a combined potential capacity of 144.65 MW, and eight geothermal energy power projects with a combined potential capacity of 278.48 MW.

"Once these projects are completed and start generating power, we can expect a more diversified and balanced energy mix in Mindanao in the coming years," Montenegro said.
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