THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (DoE) may reclassify waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities as renewable energy (RE) units capable of providing always-on baseload power.
The plans were flagged in a draft circular posted on the DoE website last week, outlining the department’s intention to promote the development of the WTE industry.
“This circular is issued to…promote WTE facilities as a basic renewable energy that can contribute to solid waste management, benefit the local economy and create green jobs, among others,” the Department of Energy.
The DoE proposes to categorize WTE technology as “another type of RE source”. WTE converts various types of waste into usable heat, electricity or fuel.
According to its circular proposal, qualified generators using such technology should be considered as “must dispatch” units in order to promote investment in WTE development.
Eligible renewable power plants are identified by the wholesale electricity spot market as “must dispatch” units which benefit from a preference in the distribution schedule.
The DoE said it will hold a series of public consultations on the draft WTE circular on September 3, 6 and 8 for participants from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, respectively. All hearings will take place at 9 a.m.
Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology President Riedo A. Panaligan said the DoE’s proposed rules contradict current law.
“The promotion of municipal solid waste (MSW) as a raw material for incineration (or) energy recovery from waste goes beyond what is prescribed by the Renewable Energy Act. The burning of MSW also contradicts the law on the ecological management of solid waste which advocates source separation, separate collection and treatment of waste. These legal hurdles expose participating parties, particularly municipal governments and local government units, to future legal action,” Mr. Panaligan said. Business world in an email on Monday.
He said WTE is the “most inefficient and expensive way” to generate electricity, based on the experience of developed countries.
“Incineration, if classified as renewable, will further compete with other true renewable energy projects such as solar, wind and biomass for already low incentive support and market share,” added Mr. Panaligan.
A 2019 Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) administrative order details the requirements that must be met before a WTE plant can be built.
Last month, environmental advocates and groups filed a petition in the Supreme Court to overturn DENR guidelines on building WTE facilities, saying implementing them would cause ‘irreparable’ harm to the environment. human health and the environment. — Angelica Y. Yang