Senator Win Gatchalian urged the government to hasten the development of transmission facilities for offshore wind (OSW) projects to increase the renewable energy (RE) sector’s contribution to the country’s overall energy supply and position the country to become the first Southeast Asian economy to have an OSW facility.
According to Gatchalian, ongoing large-scale capacities of offshore wind projects highlight the need to enhance the capability of the country’s national grid to accommodate additional supply from RE projects.
“The country would be better positioned to attract RE investments if transmission facilities are readily available for these RE facilities, particularly for OSW farms,” Gatchalian said.
Such transmission facilities also support a circular issued by the Department of Energy (DOE) last year which removed limitations on foreign ownership of RE facilities in the hope of attracting more investments. Such a circular effectively allows foreign nationals and foreign-owned entities to have majority ownership over projects that would explore, develop, and use RE resources such as solar, wind, biomass, ocean, and tidal energy.
“There would be no point in removing limitations on foreign ownership if the country’s national grid does not have the transmission facilities that would absorb additional energy output coming from these RE facilities,” he emphasized.
Gatchalian has been pushing for the development of more RE projects in a bid to help bring down the cost of energy in the country as RE plants provide the cheapest generation cost compared to coal-fired and gas-fired power plants. Developing RE facilities, including OSW farms, would also help ensure the sufficiency of energy, the senator said.
The energy department has so far awarded 79 offshore wind service contracts with an indicated 61.91 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity. The prime areas identified are Northern Luzon, Northern Mindoro, and Southern Mindoro.