Government support for successful RE integration sought

Richmond Mercurio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) has called for government support to ensure the successful integration of more renewable energy into the grid.

NGCP, in a statement yesterday, said integrating more renewable energy into the grid would require more from the energy sector, including significant transmission backbone expansion, as well as reinforcement in both policy and support infrastructure.

“The entry of more conventional, non-variable generation and energy storage systems to support variable renewable energy installations must be planned simultaneously,” NGCP said.

“Support policies including but not limited to the Philippine Grid Code must be revisited, and prioritization of the development of Competitive Renewable Energy Zones to synchronize generation and transmission projects must be well coordinated, among others,” it said.

NGCP said the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), among all agencies, would be centrally crucial, noting that capital expenditure heavy projects will require regulatory approval from the commission.

The company pointed out that access to funding was never a problem for NGCP.

Instead, it said external limitations, including regulatory caps on capital expenditures, protracted permitting processes by the local government units, and difficult rights-of-way procurement, are among the primary roadblocks to project completion.

“If the ERC will allow us to spend the capital expenditures needed to support this laudable push toward green energy, we are very confident that NGCP will be able to deliver,” the company said.

“We hope for the government and regulator’s support in crafting policies and allowing NGCP to have enough capex to fund the required projects to support renewable energy,” it said.

NGCP noted that support from other sectors outside the energy industry must likewise be in full force to accommodate renewable energy integration.

It cited the need for readiness of roads and ports to accommodate the expected influx of materials that would be needed to build the needed transmission facilities.

“This move toward a greener and more sustainable grid requires a holistic approach and we hope for the synergy among all the energy players to ensure the fruition of these efforts,” NGCP said.

NGCP said its technological partnership with the State Grid Corp. of China (SGCC) gives the company an edge in ensuring that the Philippine grid is ready and capable of integrating high levels of variable renewable energy.

It said SGCC has integrated the largest amount of renewables in the world with the installed capacity of renewables at 540 gigawatts and utilization rate at 97.4 percent in 2021.

“With its access to SGCC’s technology, NGCP is more than capable to accommodate the increasing integration of renewable energy into the grid for a more sustainable energy mix,” the company said.

NGCP said the Transmission Development Plan already considers variable renewable energy and committed renewable plants, which will connect to the grid in the next few years.

“With all things considered, NGCP is sure it can deliver its committed projects to improve the grid, as long as the political will and support are there and we are given a sustainable recovery framework,” it said.

With its support to the energy sector’s move toward green energy or alternative renewable sources of power, NGCP said  efforts must begin now as the move to renewable energy may take time.

NGCP holds a 25-year concession and a 50-year Congressional franchise to expand and operate the country’s power transmission grid.

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