Issuance of pre-dev't ECC for offshore wind projects made easy

By Kris Crismundo

February 22, 2024, 6:01 pm

MANILA – The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Thursday signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that will simplify the issuance of an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) for offshore wind energy projects.

The agreement was signed by DOE Secretary Raphael Lotilla and DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga during the B2B Matching to Support Energy Transition (B2B SET) in Taguig City.

“We signed a memorandum of agreement, which actually simplifies the process for the issuance of the pre-development stage environmental (compliance) certificate. So, these are things we are doing in order to facilitate the rollout of the renewable energy (RE) projects for the country,” Lotilla told reporters on the sidelines of the event.

RE projects, including offshore wind energy, are required to secure an ECC from the DENR during the development stage of the projects to ensure that their activities follow environmental laws, rules and regulations, and good international industry practice.

In a separate interview, DOE Undersecretary Sharon Garin noted that other RE technologies do not have interim ECC, and the ECC is only required during the development stage.

“Instead of all the studies and the evaluation that has to be done in ECC, this is a mere checklist of what you have to submit—some documents, and by submitting those documents, we can issue them an interim, let's say, ECC,” Garin said.

She added that the intent of the MOA is to have fewer requirements for the pre-development ECC.

For instance, developers will undergo consultations with local government units (LGU) and communities only through the full ECC and not during the exploration activities in the areas covered by their offshore wind energy service contracts (SCs).

“For now, it's just to allow them to do the studies of the area,” Garin said, adding that the interim ECC would last until they secure a full ECC for the development stage.

On the other hand, Yulo-Loyzaga said the MOA with the energy agency aims to provide guidance to developers and assist them in ensuring the pre-development stage and the eventual operation of their projects will remain compliant with environmental laws and regulations as well as follow global standards.

“The exploration development due to the station of wind resources may have a significant unintended impact on the environment given that the installation, operation, and decommissioning can potentially cause some disruption and threaten marine, terrestrial, and socio-economic environments,” she added. (PNA)