OVER 2,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy (RE) will be contributed to the Mindanao grid in the next five years.
Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chairperson Luwalhati Antonino said there are 231 RE projects spread across Mindanao that could potentially generate at least 2,419 MW of sustainable power for the region between 2020 and 2025.
The move, according to Antonino, is part of the efforts of key power players from the government and the private sector to provide Mindanao with a greener and renewable power supply.
During the 5th principals meeting of the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee last week, top officials from the power industry underscored the importance of advocating renewable energy as a prominent source of electricity for the island-region.
“There are good things coming in for Mindanao and power is one of them,” said Antonino.
At the same time, Antonino said the power situation in the region has significantly improved compared to last year.
“Compared to last year and the years before, the state of Mindanao power today had seen significant improvement with the immediate and medium term measures,” she added.
Antonino pointed out that even with the ongoing maintenance shutdown of Steag’s 200-MW coal-fired power plant, majority of Mindanao did not have rotating brownouts as reported by the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives.
She added that the Mindanao supply situation is even expected to have excess supply this year for the first time since 2009.
This is from the expected online operations of Therma South with 300 MW and the first 100 MW out of 200 MW from Sarangani Energy Corp., according to Antonino.
She, however, noted that the expected entry of more baseload capacities from coal-fired power plants totaling 2,000 MW until 2018 should be complemented by accelerated deployment of renewable energy projects such as hydro, biomass, geothermal, and solar, among others.
She attributed the surge of RE power applications to the One-Stop Facilitation and Monitoring Center Web Portal, an online database developed by MinDA and the Department of Energy (DOE) with the assistance of the US Agency for International Development.
Launched in October last year, the web-based mechanism aims to accelerate the duration of the permitting process for RE projects to one to two years instead of the usual three to five.
The same online monitoring facility initiated in Mindanao was also adapted by DOE that led to the formulation of the Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop, which will also provides the same services for power proponents in Luzon and Visayas regions.
“A diversified mix of fossil and renewable energy sources is integral to our overall strategy of pursuing balanced and holistic economic growth in Mindanao,” said Romeo Montenegro, MinDA director for Investment Promotions and Public Affairs.
He added that pursuing RE development is also aligned with the MinDA’s Mindanao 2020 Peace and Development Framework Plan, which recognizes power as a major enabling factor for socio-economic development.