The US Senate is in the process of developing a law to create an on-line portal that would fast-track putting up new power generation facilities. Senate Bill 1286 will be submitted for plenary deliberations when Congress reconvenes on May 2. The Bill aims to reduce the barriers to entry of additional power plants by providing a “streamlined application process for new power generation projects.”
Sponsored by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, Chairman of the Energy Committee, the Bill is intended to increase existing power supply capacity by attracting more developers and fast-tracking approval of power generation projects. He said that the proposed law aims to “create certainty” for prospective power generation developers as far as the application process is concerned.
As envisioned by its proponents, the virtual one-stop shop is where generation companies can submit all documentary requirements required by different government agencies for an application for a power generation project, monitor and inquire about the status of all ongoing applications, pay all appropriate fees and taxes, be informed of actions of government agencies on all submitted documentary requirements and applications, as well as “ventilate complaints concerning inaction on submitted documentary requirements and applications.”
Gatchalian’s Bill, once enacted into law, will pave the way for the creation of an Interagency Technical Working Group (IATWG) composed of all government agencies involved in the permitting process for power generation projects. He said that the IATWG will work to streamline the entire permitting process.
The Bill also provides for administrative offenses and penalties for “Wilful refusal to participate in the virtual one stop shop, wilful acts which delay the operationalisation of the virtual one stop shop, and failure to comply with the mandated processing time of applications for power generation projects.”