Reporting “Glut” in Negros Energy Supply
WHILE SEVERAL provinces in the country have been hit by rotational power outages, Negros has an oversupply of renewable energy, totaling almost thrice the less-than-300 MW it needs. Negros derives its power supply from solar energy plants that produce 323.5 megawatts (MW), biomass plants which account for 56.3 MW, and geothermal energy plants that provide 251.9 MW. These details emerged at a joint congressional committee hearing on power and energy chaired by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian on May 10.
A report by the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) (“Is oversupply of renewable energy in Negros a problem?”) said the excess energy remains unused because Negros cannot share it with neighboring provinces owing to the lack of transmission lines. According to the report, Negros’s “feed-in-tariff (FIT) incentives” encouraged investors to build renewable energy plants. FIT are cash-backs for producing green electricity. The report however, did not elaborate on the incentives. Some lawmakers present at the hearing wanted to know why the local government did not consider Negros’s energy transmission capacity before allowing the construction of excessive energy plants, the ANC story said.
The report quoted Senator Gatchalian as saying he would like to see a more equitable distribution of energy throughout the country. Toward that end, he urged the Department of Energy to map out the power requirements of the different provinces.
The ANC story drew urgent attention to one of the country’s most basic needs. It deserves a follow-through to press local governments to review their power requirements and to direct investors to other provinces in dire need of power.