By Victor V. Saulon, April 2 2019; Business World

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THE DEPARTMENT of Energy (DoE) has released a draft circular covering the regulation and operation of energy storage systems (ESS) after proponents of the technology raised concerns about the lack of a governing policy framework.

In its draft rules, the DoE said among the reasons for drafting the circular is the continued load dropping in the Visayas power grid because of the intermittency of the operations of variable renewable energy generating plants in the area.

It said the experience in the Visayas resulted in the recognition of energy storage systems as a technology to manage intermittent operations of the variable RE plants’ output, thus ensuring system stability.

The agency also said the circular recognizes that some forms of ESS contain chemicals that are potentially harmful to human life and the environment.

“The recycling and proper disposal of ESS facilities and components shall be under the responsibility of the ESS proponent,” it said.

It said ESS will be one of the key elements in the proposed smart grid roadmap, which the DoE is promulgating to guide the power industry in implementing initiatives to modernize the power system.

It said in other jurisdictions, ESS technologies are applied to serve a variety of functions in the generation, transmission and distribution of electric energy.

The draft circular applies to power industry participants, including power generation companies owning and/or operating ESS.

The covered technologies include battery energy storage system; compressed air energy storage; flywheel energy storage; pumped-storage hydropower; and other emerging technologies that may be identified, qualified, and approved by the DoE as ESS.

The rules are also applicable to customers and end-users owning and/or operating ESS, which include distribution utilities; and directly connected customers.

The circular also applies to qualified third parties; transmission network providers; system operators; market operators; and Philippine Electricity Market Corp.

The DoE is requesting interested parties to submit their comments on the draft department circular by April 5, 2019. It issued the draft on April 1.

On the same day, the DoE announced another international roadshow for its Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program (PCECP). It will kick off at the International Road Show for 2019 at the Southeast Asian Petroleum Exploration Society (SEAPEX) Exploration Conference and Farmout Forum in Singapore on April 2-5. These will be followed by roadshows in the United States, Canada, Abu Dhabi, and Argentina.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said: “For an energy-secure future, the DoE is committed to establish a strong ‘Explore, Explore, Explore’ program by harnessing indigenous energy resources. It is urgent that we intensify our exploration and development activities. We need to become energy self-sufficient so we are better protected from international price market volatilities.” — Victor V. Saulon