DUMAGUETE CITY—The president of the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (NOCCI) on Friday urged the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to improve its facilities to accommodate the excess power in Negros Island.
Currently, the NGCP is apparently incapable of receiving and distributing the excess power to other areas like Panay and Cebu and so there is a need for the firm to increase its transmission services, said NOCCI president Edward Du on Friday.
Du issued his statement in reaction to media reports over the “oversupply” of renewable energy, particularly solar power, in Negros that might become a problem later on as this cannot be transmitted to other areas.
But, according to him, it would not be a problem as the extra power can be shared with other areas experiencing rotating brownouts and lack of power supply if only NGCP can transmit it.
Senator Francisco Escudero this week had questioned the sudden surge in solar power plants in Negros, pointing out that not all of the combined generated capacity is being utilized in the island.
Escudero questioned Energy officials during the sub-committee hearing why the government had allowed these solar power plants to be built in the Negros Island Region (NIR).
The NIR only needs a little over 300 megawatts of power but geothermal, solar and bio-mass energy in the island is estimated to have an accumulated total of more than 500MW generated capacity.
Geothermal giant Energy Development Corporation has more than 220MW of geothermal power, while solar plants generate more than 300MW and bio-mass with less than 100MW, Du pointed out.
Aside from being expensive, solar power cannot also be used as baseload power because it is unstable, thus, not too many are buying it, Du added.
Du also questioned why the Department of Energy gave out the necessary licenses for these solar power plants without the corresponding improvements of the country’s primary transmission company, the NGCP.
The chamber president pointed out that it is not the fault of the investors to come and set up business in the NIR because they were simply responding to previous calls for additional renewable energy here, especially with pronouncements of projected power shortage sometime in 2013 and 2014, Du said.
It is a “success problem” that now needs to be resolved, as solar power companies are not getting their returns of investment at this time, he added.
Meanwhile, Du disclosed that NOCCI is hoping for a fair “energy mix” of geothermal and solar to cater to the electricity requirements of the region.