State-run National Power Corp. said it expects to realize savings of about P480 million with the implementation of 50 megawatts of hybrid energy projects in missionary areas by the second half next year.

“It will take some time for NPC to conclude its hybridization project. We expect that almost 50 MW of initial RE capacity will already be available during the 2nd half of 2024. If so, NPC would be able to realize saving of around P480 million in terms of avoided diesel fuel costs,” NPC president and chief executive Fernando Martin Roxas said.

“Further, NPC acknowledges that the RE shift could not be done overnight, and so we still have to operate the existing diesel gensets to avoid abrupt changes that may affect the electricity supply,” Roxas said.

A study conducted by experts of the European Union-funded Access to Sustainable Energy Programme in 2018 showed that hybridization would enable NPC to save around P2.25 billion annually.

ASEP, a joint undertaking of the EU and the Department of Energy, said adopting hybridization in NPC’s mini-grids and ensuring diesel gensets are running at optimal levels would result in a cost reduction of around P4.5 per kilowatt-hour, or almost P2.25 billion in annual savings.

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A hybrid mini-grid combines at least two different kinds of technologies for power generation and a back-up diesel genset. It distributes electricity to several consumers through an independent grid.

Hybridization is also expected to result in better reliability and improved service hours of power plants.

Roxas said NPC was gradually minimizing the use of diesel generating sets to fast-track its renewable energy program in SPUG power plants after Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla’s directive to stop procuring new diesel gensets to lessen the corporation’s dependence on fossil fuels.

“We intend to push for hybridization for existing SPUG and to fully utilize renewable energy with energy storage systems for new areas. This will minimize the losses incurred from rising fuel costs and will eventually make our operations more sustainable,” Roxas said.

NPC said it would also use and deploy more solar home systems and install wind resource assessment in probable areas for wind farms.

“My ultimate goal is to convert all SPUG areas to 100 percent RE operations. What is good for the environment is likewise good for Napocor,” Roxas said.

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