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Cusi pitches for renewable energy

Maria Romero

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The Department of Energy (DoE) remains bent on attaining the vision of an energy-independent Philippines by boosting the use of renewable energy (RE) as the country’s need for additional capacity remains urgent amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi underscored that the promotion of the country’s renewable resources should be pursued but without sacrificing the achievement of the country’s energy security.

Cusi noted that the current energy situation “leaves much to be desired.” Hence, all options in power sourcing should be considered, including the possibility of tapping nuclear energy in the future.

“We cannot be at the mercy of global market volatilities, geopolitical movements, or pandemics. This is why we must ensure that our energy agenda directly responds to the unique needs of our country’s energy landscape. We cannot fit a square peg in a round hole,” Cusi pointed out.

“There is a need to strike a balance between meeting our current energy needs and building a better and cleaner world for the coming generations. Reality makes us realize that we cannot sacrifice one in favor of the other,” he added.

Following the enactment of the Republic Act (RA) 9513 or the RE Act of 2008, Cusi has ordered a periodic review of the law “to see where we are at the moment and find stronger ways to promote our indigenous resources.”

The law promotes the development of the country’s renewable resources, including the provision of additional incentives for geothermal advancement.

On the indigenous energy resource development front, the DoE has so far awarded a total of 472 Renewable Energy Service Contracts, with a potential capacity of 20 gigawatts (GW).

The added capacity may boost the RE share to our Total Primary Energy Supply by eight percent. This is higher than our indicative and committed coal plants for the same period, which only has a potential capacity of 14.5 GW.

Latest data shows that RE accounted for 33 percent of the Philippines’ total primary energy supply.

“We are 10 percent ahead vis-a-vis the regional target outlined in the ASEAN Plan of Action on Energy Cooperation,” Cusi said.

As outlined in the ASEAN Plan of Action on Energy Cooperation, ASEAN countries seek to increase the RE component of their Total Primary Energy Mix to 23 percent by 2025.

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