NEA orders fuel oil-dependent power co-ops to source more renewable energy


THE National Electrification Administration (NEA) has directed electric cooperatives to tap more renewable energy if they are currently drawing power from diesel or bunker-fired power plants.

“We have directed cooperatives to procure renewable energy for the hybridization of their diesel or bunker-fired power suppliers that they are (currently) engaged with,” NEA Administrator Emmanuel P. Juaneza told Businessworld by phone.

Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla said at a Senate energy committee hearing on Aug. 10 that his department is looking to end off-grid areas’ dependence on imported fuel.

Mr. Juaneza said that NEA, together with the National Power Corp., started the “hybridization” process of off-grid power in 2019.

Mr. Juaneza said electric cooperatives are required to comply with the renewable portfolio standards (RPS) requirement.

Under RPS, power distribution utilities, electric cooperatives, and retail electricity suppliers are required to source an agreed portion of their energy supply from renewable energy (RE) facilities.

He said solar is the most likely renewable source that cooperatives will turn to because of falling costs.

“The only drawback with solar energy is that it is not baseload, it’s variable,” he said.

Mr. Juaneza said the main obstacle to 100% household electrification is the lack of funds.

Mr. Juaneza said that to energize one sitio with 10 households, P1.5 million is needed.

According to a NEA statement issued last week, Mr. Lotilla said he is “counting on NEA to be our committed partner in realizing the government’s vision of total electrification of the country.” — Ashley Erika O. Jose