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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs         6  July 2011

Philippines criticized for renewable energy incentives delay

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The International Finance Corp. (FIC) has slammed the delay in the implementation of the incentives provided for under the Renewable Energy Law.

Jesse Ang, IFC representative to the Philippines, said in a briefing that foreign investors have been “disappointed” over the extended deferral in the issuance of the final feed-in tariff rates, urging the government to finish the “hype” it started.

“Here we go again. Same old, same old,” said Ang on the sidelines of the press launch of the 2nd Philippine Energy Efficiency Forum.

“We’ve been waiting for this since July last year,” he said. The IFC has invested in renewable energy projects in the region, particularly Thailand and China.

The feed-in tariff is the electricity charged to every renewable energy source and guarantees payment to developers.

The National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) on May 16 submitted to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) the petition on the feed-in-tariff. The ERC has 90 days to conduct public consultations all over the country and come out with the rates, but it has warned it may be unable to issue the rates within the prescribed time period.

As of May 16, the government has approved an installation target of 830 megawatts, to be divided among different energy resources such as wind, solar, ocean, hydro and biomass.

The ERC initially set an August deadline for the NREB last year but the latter requested several extensions to complete its computations.

“The reality is that renewable energy is going to be expensive, but we need to have a portion of our energy mix in renewable energy. The question is how much is enough and how much is less,” Ang said.

Energy companies have rallied behind the granting of subsidies to renewable projects via the feed-in-tariff, which many feared would raise the price of electricity.

“We may also look at the allocation of 10 percent as an insurance premium . . . It’s a delicate balancing act,” said Ed Chua, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. country chairman.

Chua said the Philippines has the potential to excel in the renewable energy sector with the country now the second largest producer of geothermal energy, behind the US with a difference only of 100 to 200 megawatts

“It is a hedge against future escalation of fossil fuels,” said Al Santos, First Gen Corp. vice president.

Shell and First Gen are among the companies supporting efforts by the European Chambers of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) to encourage businesses to implement energy efficient programs.

The ECCP expects at least 500 delegates to attend the 2nd Philippine Energy Efficiency Forum in July 19 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City and another 100 companies to showcase their energy efficient technologies and solutions.

The Cebu leg of the forum will happen a week after the Manila event.


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By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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