Trans Asia urges govt to clarify policy

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Before pushing ahead with its other wind projects, Trans Asia Oil and Energy Corp. wants to have a clear direction from the government on the proposed auction scheme for the feed-in tariff (FIT) program.

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Trans Asia President Francisco Viray said Monday the energy firm would wait for the transparent implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the auction before proceeding with its wind projects.

The Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) is an economic policy created to promote active investment in and production of renewable energy sources. It typically makes use of long-term agreements and pricing tied to the costs of production for renewable energy producers.

The government has resorted to the FIT policy to augment the country’s power supply in the face of increasing demand from a growing economy.

Trans Asia, a unit of the Philippine Investment-Management (PHINMA) Inc., has completed a 54-megawatt (MW) wind project in San Lorenzo, an island near Guimaras province in Western Visayas.

The San Lorenzo wind farm consists of 27 wind turbines, each with 2MW generation capacity.

Viray made the statement in reaction to the decision of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) approving a lower FIT for the second wave of wind power projects.

ERC has approved an FIT of P7.40 per kilowatt for the second wave of wind installation targets, which is lower than what was asked by the National Renewable Energy Board (NREB).

Trans Asia’s San Lorenzo’s wind project, thus, is eligible for this FIT rate.

But previously, the ERC approved a FIT rate of P8.53 per kWh for the first 200 MW of wind projects under the first wave of installation targets.

Apart from the San Lorenzo wind project, Viray earlier said his company is also eyeing developing the Sibunag and Ballesteros wind projects in Guimaras, with a total target capacity of 120 MW.

NREB is now studying the proposal of the Department of Energy (DOE) to conduct an auction for setting the FIT rates for the next round of installation targets.

To date, the ERC sets the FIT rates after evaluating the submission of NREB.

NREB chairman Pedro Maniego, Jr. earlier said the committee is still gathering information on the experience of other countries with regard to auction, bidding and other competitive mechanisms on FIT.

He added that there is no timetable when the committee will submit its recommendations to the NREB board.

“The NREB has neither the technical staff nor consultant, and must rely on their members to conduct the studies,” said Maniego.

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