DOE pushes for RE-centered Western Visayas

1. The 54-megawatt San Lorenzo Wind Farm in Guimaras Province – the first of its kind in Western Visayas. (Photo courtesy of San Lorenzo Guimaras Tourism)

By Easter Anne Doza

The Department of Energy (DOE) during the 3rd Quarter Regional Development Council (RDC) 6 meeting revealed that Western Visayas is poised as the Renewable Energy (RE) center of the country with a total of 113 renewable energy service contracts already awarded.

As of June 2023, these renewable energy projects progress through different stages of permitting and development with an existing installed capacity of 775.7 Megawatts (MW) and a potential capacity of 16,500.7 MW, and DOE awaits its integration into the local communities.

According to DOE, most of these contracts are wind energy sources, with a vast potential capacity of 14,943 MW.

Energy Secretary Raphael Perpetuo Lotilla, in his message read by Undersecretary Giovanni Carlo Bacordo during the RDC meeting, said that renewable energy is the way forward and the DOE is amplifying efforts to advocate for greater utilization of renewable energy, aligning with our overarching government objectives.

“Our shared goal is to achieve 35 percent renewable energy (RE) in our power generation mix by 2030, with an ambitious target of 50 percent by 2040. These targets are not arbitrary. They are enshrined in both the Philippine Energy Plan and the National Renewable Energy Plan, reflecting our commitment to combating climate change and transitioning toward a more sustainable and environmentally friendly power generation landscape,” Lotilla added.

DOE urges the local government units (LGUs) in the region to actively participate in the Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop (EVOSS) System by incorporating their permitting processes into the System while also encouraging all permitting agencies to take a proactive role in guiding and facilitating these renewable energy initiatives.

“By doing so, we can expedite the permitting process for these energy projects that will provide livelihood and development opportunities to the host communities sooner, rather than later,” Lotilla said.

DOE also gave updates on the high-impact energy projects mentioned during President Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA) like the Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project and the Cebu-Negros-Panay (CNP) Transmission Line Project.

The MVIP with a transfer capacity of 450 MW, will link Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, facilitating power sharing and optimizing energy resources at a current load of 270 MW, the interconnection is targeted to be fully operational by October 2023.

On the other hand, the Cebu-Negros-Panay (CNP) Transmission Line Project, designed at 800 MW, will enhance the efficient transfer of energy within the Visayas sub-grid, particularly from Negros Island which is currently operating at 270 MW, the CNP Stage 3 Project is targeted for full operation by National Grid Corporation of the Philippines in October 2023.

Lotilla shared that RDC VI is showing what the energy future will be like and how it will be done, and this must be replicated by other RDCs. (PIA-6)