‘If successful, the project may not just benefit northern Samar in the long run, but the rest of the region who are experiencing the same. This could also put an end to the high power cost that has been hurting businesses and discourage potential investors.’
Fluctuating supply of electricity and its high cost had long been a torment for residents of Eastern Visayas.
A strong gust of wind or a heavy downpour and regularly occurring natural events can somehow trigger the recurring black outs yet never appear to affect the high electric bills in the face of poor service the consumers experience.
Several officials in the region have also pointed out this problem that has remained unsolved for years. Eastern Visayas houses one of the world’s largest geothermal plants.
Power supply from Luzon
Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone said the region is still getting electricity from coal power plants in Luzon which indicates that rates are dictated by global prices of coal, fuel, and the peso-dollar exchange rate.
“Leyte is the host of the largest geothermal power in the country while Eastern Samar hosts a hydropower plant. Unfortunately, we don’t benefit from these renewable energy sources. The power cost is very high,” Evardone said in a meeting here of the regional task force to end the local communist armed conflict (TF-ELCAC).
One Grid Policy
Furthermore, the official pointed to the “One Grid Policy” as a setback for communities that host renewable energy plants. Evardone claims that this only allows power plants to sell their produce to the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM). A centralized venue for buyers and sellers to trade electricity as a commodity where prices are determined based on actual demand and supply.
“We understand their situation since it’s a business, but they can make a certain percent of their electricity available to host communities,” he added.
A possible solution
With this, the recent collaboration of three energy corporations gives hope for the people, an answer to their clamor.
The municipality of San Isidro in Northern Samar is eyed to house the awaited Wind Energy project which could finally be a game changer for the region. Aboitiz Power Corporation has joined hands with Vivant Energy Corporation and Vena Energy from Singapore. Together, they've formed the Lihangin Wind Energy Corporation which will manage and oversee the project.
Still under wraps
Start of construction and commercial operations is targeted in November 2023 and first quarter of 2025. This endeavor would bring in a whopping 206 megawatts of electricity for Northern Samar alone.
“We welcome this opportunity to partner with two leaders in renewable energy development which share our vision of helping the country attain energy security while promoting renewable energy and contributing to countrywide development,” said Vivant Energy President and COO Emil Andre Garcia.
While the exact investment details are still under wraps, what appeals to the public is the possibility of a cleaner Philippines through the promotion of renewable energy.
If successful, the project may not just benefit northern Samar in the long run, but the rest of the region who are experiencing the same. This could also put an end to the high power cost that has been hurting businesses and discourage potential investors.
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