FEF suggests other power sources than solar

By Juzel L. Danganan

MANILA, June 15 (PNA) — The Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF) urged the Department of Energy (DOE) to consider other alternative solutions which are possible and less expensive rather than solar.

”It has an efficiency rating of only 16 to 20%, which means that most of the time the equipment lies idle,” FEF said in a news release.

The group disagrees with the plans of the DOE to increase the solar installation capacity from 50 Megawatts (MW) to 500 MW, basing their argument on the additional charge of 32 centavos per kilowatt hours (kwh) to the electric bills of power consumers.

The Foundation stated in a letter to the DOE that it’s unjust that the summer months of 2015 and 2016, in which the solar panels would be used, would create a huge burden on the Filipino consumers.

The letter also noted that the use of solar has higher installation capacity but generates a higher charge of P9.68/kWh, or about half of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market’s (WESM’s) prices.

Through this arrangement, FEF stated Solar energy developers would enjoy an annual 12 billion PHP, aside from the subsidy for existing installation targets for Renewable Energy (RE) currently at 8 Billion PHP.

Also mentioned in the letter, is that the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) system will create a guaranteed 16 percent per annum for the next 20 years even if the capital equipment cost would be lowered.

The group also stressed that the FIT rates which were calculated two years ago by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) maybe too high due to the reduction cost for capital equipment.

However, the group maintains that they are not in any way against renewables, saying they are just against the high prices of the FIT rates from RE developers.

Earlier, DOE Secretary Jericho Petilla has stated that the FIT rate is still being debated in the ERC, while also pointing out that the FIT subsidy was based on the January rates from the WESM and the 9.63 kwh price of solar.

Petilla also said that he proposed to the Commission that the solar plants, which would be commissioned by March 2015, be allowed to charge at a rate of P9.63 kwh.

However, for the plants that would be commissioned later, a lower rate is to be expected.

”Now, it will decrease because not everyone can meet 2015. In my estimate, 200-300 will only come in by 2015, if approved by the ERC,” the Secretary said. (PNA)