DoE wants fast track for P3.5-B power projects

THE Department of Energy (DoE) is proposing a threshold of P3.5 billion for power generation ventures to be declared as projects of national significance, a status which frees them from tedious permitting and regulatory hurdles.

However, the project cost will only be secondary to the department’s goals as laid down in the Philippine Energy Plan (PEP), the long-term industry blueprint annually updated by the DoE as called for under Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA).

“It’s the PEP and any of the following,” said Energy Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentebella in a recent interview, as he emphasized the plan’s precedence over the list of qualifications for a project to be declared of national significance.

These qualifications are part of a proposed executive order drafted by the Energy department. Mr. Fuentebella said the order has been forwarded to the Office of the President and submitted to the Cabinet.

“The PEP is the summary of all the plans that we have,” he said, adding the sub-plans covering power plant development, transmission, distribution, household and missionary electrification as well as plans in securing petroleum products, energy resource development and utilization.

The DoE previously announced the other qualifications to include the projects’ contribution to the country’s economic development, consequential economic impacts and positive impact on the environment, which the DoE said should be “significant.”

The others are the projects’ potential contribution to the country’s balance of payments, their complex technical processes and engineering designs, and significant infrastructure requirements.

Read more here.

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