DOE encourages investors to put up power generators in Visayas

Wenilyn Sabalo

THE Department of Energy (DOE) is encouraging more private investors in the power sector to put up generating facilities in the Visayas region to ensure adequate supply of power in the coming years.

Noriel Christopher Reyes, senior science research specialist of the DOE Electric Power Industry Management Bureau, noted the bigger demand level in Cebu island compared to the power it could generate. Because of this, the DOE is looking into several commitment projects.

He said investment briefings are being done to update investors and other stakeholders of the current situation within the Visayas grid.

“Of course, the initial feedback of the investors is what is the current need for power. Once they see the need, the next question is, what assistance could the DOE provide them to streamline their requirements necessary in securing various permits,” he said in a forum on Thursday, November 7, 2019.

Central Visayas will need an additional 9,180 megawatts (MW) to ensure stable supply of electricity until 2040, the energy department reported during the Regional Development Council Central Visayas full council meeting last June 21.

Reyes said among the possible reasons of the yearly increase of energy demand is due to yearly increase in population and the number of residential areas.

Last June 20, power supply in the Visayas was raised to red alert status from 7 p.m. since demand reached 2,082 MW while supply was only 2,014 MW. A red alert means no backup power and this may result in outages.

Although he was not able to present actual data for the Cebu island, Reyes said in his presentation that in terms of the demand level in the whole of the Visayas region, Cebu island has the biggest demand requirement compared to the islands of Panay, Negros, Bohol, Leyte, and Samar.

“However, in the existing generation facilities, or the existing generators here in Cebu, it cannot solely provide the needed demand of the Cebu island,” he said.

“That’s why, we can see that in the current, basing on the interconnections that I shared earlier, the links, the power generated from Negros, Panay, Leyte, and Samar are being transferred here in Cebu City to meet the demand requirement,” he said.

Rada added in order to lure private investors in putting up generators, especially in Cebu, the energy department is pushing for the faithful implementation of the Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop (EVOSS) Act.

EVOSS Act mandates specific number of days for the agencies to act upon specific application of permits and licenses.

Aside from investment briefings, Rada said the DOE is also fast tracking the implementation of other indicative projects.

This include the Mindanao-Visayas interconnection and the interruptible load program, which asks companies with standby generation capacities to use their own facilities in instances of power supply deficit. (WBS)