Where’s the Philippine Energy Plan?

Where’s the Philippine Energy Plan?

Senator Gatchalian nudges DoE for a sense of urgency

By John Victor D. Ordoñez, Reporter

A SENATOR is seeking an explanation from the Department of Energy (DoE) on why it has been delayed in submitting the new Philippine energy roadmap, which Congress has been waiting to act on since Sept. 15, last year.

“The submission of the Philippine Energy Plan (PEP) is already more than three months overdue. The DoE needs to comply with this requirement immediately,” Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian said in a statement on Wednesday.

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

As of June, the DoE had awarded 1,087 renewable energy service contracts with a total potential capacity of 113.5 gigawatts.

Mr. Gatchalian stressed that the DoE is supposed to submit to Congress an updated energy roadmap each year as mandated under Republic Act 9136, the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA).

Speaking to BusinessWorld over the telephone, Energy Bureau Director Michael O. Sinocruz said: “The delay is because we are waiting for the completion of the National Strategic Transmission Plan and consultation and UP College of Engineering, which will be completed this month.”

The DoE official said the PEP would cover the country’s energy goals from 2023 to 2050, with the country’s energy department focusing on boosting offshore wind projects.

The National Strategic Transmission Plan, which will be incorporated into the PEP, will include a smart and green grid plan that would tackle the efficient transmission of power to accommodate more renewable energy sources, Mr. Sinocruz said.

The Energy official noted that the PEP is expected to be almost 500 pages long and will come in three volumes.

Last Dec. 21, the Board of Investments (BoI) issued a certificate of endorsement to Ivisan Windkraft Corp. for its 450-megawatt Frontera Bay Wind Power Project off Cavite, which will be the Philippines’ first offshore wind project.

The project is expected to help the government achieve its target of producing 15.3 gigawatts of clean energy by 2030 under the Philippine Development Plan.

The Philippines has potential offshore wind resources of 178 gigawatts, with large parts of the coast having wind that can power turbines, the BoI said.

Earlier, the DoE said the PEP would include the expected share of nuclear power in the country’s energy mix.

The House of Representatives had approved a bill seeking to establish an agency that would regulate the nascent nuclear industry.

Mr. Gatchalian had filed a similar measure before the Senate, which is set to be tackled at the committee level.

The Philippines and the United States on Nov. 17 signed a deal that would allow Washington to export nuclear technology to Manila so it can develop a civilian nuclear energy infrastructure.

Experts have called on the government to diversify its RE mix instead of pushing nuclear energy, which could end up costing more than reliable power sources.

“The Philippine Energy Plan will be the foundation for achieving cleaner energy, promoting economic growth, and enhancing the well-being of our people,” Mr. Gatchalian said.