Aquino gov’t urged to rethink renewable energy projects

August 19, 2011

The Philippines largest and often criticized power distributor, Manila Electric Co (Meralco), is lobbying the federal administration to rethink its plans to invest in renewable energy as the moves may pose further burden on consumers with higher electricity prices.

"It will be prudent for the Philippines to just wait until the generation costs of relatively expensive RE sources come down to a level that is close to grid parity with conventional sources of generation," Meralco told the country's Energy Regulatory Commission .

According to Meralco, it supports the position of the National Renewable Energy Board to allocate higher installation targets for renewable sources such as run-of-river hydropower and biomass with relatively lower generation cost as against the other sources.

"There is no need to rush the imposition of feed-in-tariff rates that will burden the end users, especially for technologies with proposed FIT level twice or thrice the current conventional generation costs.

"As the power sector's front liners, directly dealing with consumers on a day-to-day basis, we are also keenly aware of the demand of our customers for affordable rates and cost-competitive service. Thus, we strongly recommend that the implementation of mechanisms that will lead to additional charges on consumers be carefully calibrated," Meralco said.

The Department of Energy also supports pacing the more expensive renewable energy technologies and even reducing to 760MW from 830MW the installation target or the total allowed capacity of the renewable energy facilities that would be put up in the country over the next three years.