The National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) is working on an updated National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) which will cover the renewable-energy (RE) road map until 2040.
NREB Chairman Monalisa C. Dimalanta said the current NREP, which covers the period 2011-2030, is under review because the targets set therein were not met.
“This is a good time to reassess. It’s been 10 years. The programs are in place. Let’s reassess and shift gears if we need to. Because the challenge is still there, to meet the targets, and probably to increase the targets. What we’re doing is reevaluate the program so that we can see why we did not meet the target, what work do we still need to do,” said Dimalanta.
The NREP outlines the policy framework of Republic Act 9513. It sets the strategic building blocks that will help the country achieve the goals set forth in the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.
Under the current NREP, the country is targeting 22,000 megawatts (MW) in RE capacity, with RE accounting for 35 percent of the total energy mix by 2030.
“In the supply mix, more than 30 percent, now it’s 23 percent as of last year. Instead of increasing the share of RE in the supply mix, we’re reducing. But there are a lot of factors that explains that, it’s not just because we’re using less RE,” said Dimalanta.
“There are a lot more plants that we’re built that were using non-RE. The pie got bigger with the share of non-RE getting bigger. For RE, the increase was not proportional,” she added.
An official of the Department of Energy (DOE) commented on the delays in policy implementation that may have contributed for missing the targets.
“The target is to triple the capacity by 2030. At the time NREP was issued, the existing RE capacity was 5,000 MW. The target is by end of 2030, it should be 15,000 MW. However, based on our assessment, around 7,000MW was recorded from 2011 to 2017,” said Mylene C. Capongcol, Department of Energy-Renewable Energy Management Bureau Director.
“When we assess the NREP and its implementation, there were delays in issuances of development of support mechanism, like RPS [Renewable Portfolio Standards] on grid and off grid, GEOP [Green Energy Option Plan], RE market,” Capongcol added.
An updated NREP could be out in October this year.
Advocacy group Murang Kuryente criticized the DOE’s technology-neutral policy, saying this declaration does not rule out a moratorium on the construction of coal-fired power plants in the country.
According to Murang Kuryente Spokesman Gerry Arances, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi’s remarks during last week’s budget hearing “betray a parochial mentality that focuses on megawatts produced, while dooming consumers to paying more for unreliable and polluting energy.”
The Philippines vowed to reduce its greenhouse gas emission by 70 percent by 2030.
Cusi said the DOE will continue to approve coal power plant projects “if we need it.”
He added during the hearing that a “moratorium on any technology is a disservice to our country.”
Murang Kuryente said the agency’s technology-neutral policy runs counter to the spirit of the directive issued by President Duterte in his State of the Nation Address. The president earlier said the country needs to develop more RE sources and reduce dependence on traditional energy sources, such as coal.
The group blames the coal power plants of the country for aggravating the “power crisis” experienced in the run-up to the 2019 midterm elections.
“It’s a no-brainer. If you have technology that is more reliable, more affordable, and more sustainable in producing energy, you go for it and abandon old technology, especially if it’s destructive,” he said.
The Philippines is one of the few countries in the world that insists in constructing new coal-fired power plants despite a global trend to halt their continued use.