MinDA pushes for renewable energy

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) is pushing for more renewable energy facilities in this southernmost part of the country to keep with surging electricity demand driven by rapid growth of industries, real estate, services sector and agribusiness.

MinDA Assistant Secretary and Deputy Executive Director Romeo Montenegro told stakeholders at the Water, Energy and Power Summit Tuesday that Mindanao will require about 3,500 megawatts of new capacity between 2021-2030 (at projected 7-8% AAGR).

He said from supply shortfall resulting in long brownouts in 2011, Mindanao started having more than enough power by end of 2015 and today it has supply excess following the entry of new power plants, but needing more by 2022.

However, he lamented that the entry of mostly coal-powered plants had resulted in the reversal of renewable energy-fossil energy mix.

Mindanao’s power energy mix in 2015 was 49% hydro, 14% coal, 31% oil-based and 6% geothermal, or 55% renewable energy and 45% fossil. In 2017, it was 49% coal, 29% hydro, 18% oil-based, 3% geothermal and 1% biomass or 67% fossil and 33% RE.

Montenegro said the share of fossil fuels in the energy mix is rising, and Mindanao is yet to fully tap clean, renewable and indigenous power sources.

Thus, the need for long-term energy plan to ensure security, achieve optimal energy pricing and developing sustainable energy system. The Mindanao Energy Plan of 2013-2030, pursued by the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee in collaboration with DOE and MinDA, was completed this year and is set for publication and distribution.

“Go renewable!” Montenegro stressed during the summit initiated by the city government of Zamboanga and USAID.

According to him, a total of 234 mostly hydro RE projects are currently pending in several permitting agencies, more than half of which have been awarded by DOE with Service Contracts which can be revoked if milestones (within 1 year) set by DOE are not met. Application process for RE projects, however, has to face the governmental red tape process by going through 13 regulatory agencies, 159 signatures and 3-5 years total processing timeline.-(Vic Larato)