The Department of Energy has revealed that it is working to cut the long approval time for a crucial assessment process required for the development of new renewable energy projects in the country, and it would soon order the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to shorten its usual two-year timeline in approving the conduct of system impact studies (SIS) to just 60 days.
An SIS is an engineering assessment required for power developers to gauge whether the country’s transmission system is capable of absorbing new technologies. Developers need to secure NGCP’s approval before conducting their own studies through third-party SIS service providers.
“The system impact studies, unfortunately, are rather delayed… a number of developers in the sector have been complaining of delays from one-and-a-half to two years in the SIS alone. These are the things that we want to be able to address so that renewable energy developers will be able to focus on the rollout of their projects,” Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said.
The energy virtual one-stop shop (EVOSS) that imposes timelines on the delivery of permits, including SIS, currently does not have a specific timeline for NGCP’s approval of SIS. Lotilla noted that the EVOSS steering committee was working on ways to address the delays, adding that they would also be coordinating with NGCP.
He cited data from NGCP showing that of those who had applied for SIS, only 50 percent actually carried out their proposed projects.
“We want to work with the private sector and we want to work in a more efficient and effective way, and so this process is intended precisely to achieve that,” the energy chief added.
Cutting a process that currently takes up to 2 years to just 60 days will certainly be one way of achieving that goal. Hopefully the DOE, NGCP, and power developers can work together to shorten these processes so their work of transforming the power sector can be done as efficiently and effectively as possible in this country where any future progress relies greatly on the availability of affordable, reliable, quality, and green power.*