By Jed Macapagal | Malaya Business Insight
The Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a certificate to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) proclaiming the Visayas-Mindanao grid interconnection as an energy project of national significance under Executive Order 30 (EO 30).
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the project is marked as a significant power related infrastructure in the country,enabling NGCP to fast track its permitting needs to finish the project as soon as possible.
The P51.6 billion interconnection project that will connect the country’s three major islands is eyed to be completed by 2020.
Cusisaid the DOE also plans to proclaim the 1,200 megawatts (MW) Atimonan One coal-fired power plant being developed by Meralco PowerGen Corp. as an energy project of national significance, but noted issues surrounding the project particularly its power supply agreement (PSA).
“I cannot issue unless the PSA or that bilateral agreement is cleared. I don’t like it to be accused of being railroaded through the certificate. The reason why we want it to become an energy project of national significance is for capacity building,” Cusi explained.
He reiterated the need for as much as 10,000 MW of additional capacity until 2022.
It can be recalled that Atimonan One’s PSA with Meralco is still pending in the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) as it did not undergo a competitive selection process (CSP).
The CSP mandates distribution utilities to sign an agreement with a generation company only after calling for and receiving at least two qualified bids from other generation companies.
Civic groups are calling the contract a midnight deal since Meralco submitted the PSA to the ERC for approval a day before the CSP became effective in 2016.
Signed by President Duterte in June last year, EO 30 created the Energy Investment Coordinating Council to streamline the regulatory procedures affecting energy projects of national importance.
Under the implementing rules and regulations of EO 30, the processing of permits and licenses shall be within a maximum period of 30 days for projects declared as energy projects of national significance.
The 30-day deadline starts from the submission of the complete documentary requirements to the relevant agencies involved in the permitting process.
Holders of such certificate are also presumed to have already complied with the requirements and permits from other government permitting agencies.