News & Updates

Powering the Future: The Philippines’ Offshore Wind Energy Revolution with OPAF and EVOSS

As an archipelagic nation situated on the eastern rim of Southeast Asia, the Philippines is bound on the west by the West Philippine Sea and on the east by the Pacific Ocean. Its geography and location mean that the country has significant onshore and offshore wind energy potential which, to date, remains largely untapped. At the same time, the Philippines is burdened with crippling electricity prices and an overreliance on conventional generation facilities powered largely by imported fuel.

In response to this, on 16 June 2023, the Department of Energy (“DOE”) issued Department Circular No. DC2023-06-0020, entitled Policy and Administrative Framework for Offshore Wind Development in the Country or “OPAF”, which outlines the framework for the efficient use and development of the Philippines’ Offshore Wind (“OSW”) resources.

The main objective of the OPAF is to accelerate the exploration and development of indigenous OSW resources. To achieve this, the OPAF streamlines the process for the granting of permits for OSW projects. The pertinent permitting agencies (“PAs”) are required to submit a list of necessary permits and clearances applicable within their respective jurisdictions.

Under the OPAF, the PAs are integrated into the Energy Virtual One Stop Shop (“EVOSS”) System, which is the “online system that allows the coordinated submission and synchronous processing of all required data and information and provides a single decision-making portal for actions on applications for permits or certifications necessary for, or related to, an application of a proponent for new power generation, transmission, or distribution projects.” Simply put, it is a web-based monitoring system for energy project related applications and a central repository of project-related information, shared by the pertinent government agencies and entities involved in the process. Clearly, the goal is to create a more efficient, organized, and expedited process of granting clearances for the use of OSW resources through the EVOSS System.

The OPAF introduces priority activities, which aim to enhance the effective implementation of OSW projects; establishes the Philippine Offshore Wind Databank and calls for the updating of the current DOE guidelines for the award of Offshore Wind Energy Service Contracts.

Furthermore, the OPAF mandates the collaboration of different government agencies whether in the transmission sector, in connection with foreshore lease regulations or for purposes of upgrading the necessary ports and harbors.

Lastly, the OPAF seeks to establish a comprehensive and well-coordinated Marine Spatial Planning for OSW development. This will be done in order to: a) identify high development areas for OSW projects; b) reduce uncertainties and shorten development timelines of OSW projects; c) identify and resolve possible overlaps of protected areas and other no-build zones; and d) engage and upskill relevant government agencies and other stakeholders.

In sum, the OPAF lays down guidelines for the establishment of an integrated, efficient, and organized system for the use of the country’s OSW resources, all of which seek to encourage the use of a more sustainable and less costly form of energy. The streamlining of governmental processes into the EVOSS System likewise promotes transparent and efficient government service. All of these guidelines, if properly implemented, will pave the way for a better Philippine energy sector.