DoE plan must elevate energy security to top priority item, think tank says

DoE plan must elevate energy security to top priority item, think tank says

By John Victor D. Ordoñez, Reporter

THE Department of Energy (DoE) should designate energy security as its main focus when it submits the Philippine Energy Plan (PEP) to Congress, according to a think tank.

“From power generation to transmission to distribution and supply, they all should harmonize into one goal — energy security,” Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr., president of the free market think tank Minimal Government Thinkers, said in a Viber message.

Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian last week sought an explanation from the DoE on the delays to its energy roadmap, which had been due on Sept. 15.

The PEP will outline the Philippines’ energy goals between 2023 and 2050.

Under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act, the DoE must submit to Congress an updated energy roadmap annually.

Mr. Oplas said the DoE must ensure enough power is available to consumers to dispel worries of blackouts, especially after recent power outages in Panay.

“The DoE must consider power price fluctuations, surges and dips,” he said. “Which means the DoE should remain agnostic about where the energy comes from.”

DoE Director Michael O. Sinocruz earlier told BusinessWorld that the department is finishing its National Strategic Transmission Plan and wrapping up the consultation process before it submits the energy roadmap by the end of January.

He said the plan will include a smart and green grid plan that would tackle efficient transmission of power to accommodate more renewable energy sources.

The government is aiming to increase the share of renewable energy (RE) in the power generation mix to 35% by 2030 and to 50% by 2040. RE currently accounts for 22% of the energy mix.

The DoE has said the PEP will also detail the government’s plan to tap nuclear energy.

The Energy Regulatory Commission on Jan. 4 said the Panay power outage has been referred to an interim grid management committee for investigation.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Saturday said the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) must take responsibility of the power outage in the Western Visayas on Jan. 2.

The NGCP on Jan. 2 reported that multiple power plants tripped, including units of Panay Energy Development Corp. and Palm Concepcion Power Corp.

Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund F. Villafuerte, Jr. said on Sunday that legislators must reconsider the legislative franchise of the NGCP.

“The only way we can hope for things to change for the better is for the 19th Congress to recast the NGCP’s franchise to, among others, possibly strip it of his task as traffic manager of the nationwide transmission system, or to revoke the concession altogether,” he said in a statement.