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Cusi: US vows RE investment soon

Maria Romero



Despite “dwindling” grants in the past years, a United States-based firm committed to augment investments in developing the Philippines’ renewable energy (RE) resources.

In an online forum on Thursday, David Marchick, COO of the United States International Development Finance Corporation, said the firm wants to lend and invest more equity in the Philippines.

“We have $60 billion of investment capacity. We have a current portfolio of about $33 billion in 106 countries. That means we can invest a lot more, lend a lot more, and provide insurance to companies in the Philippines and the companies that are active in investing in the Philippines,” he said.

Marchick underscored that under Biden’s administration, the United States wants “to do more with the Philippines to drive the economic growth of the country, to drive capacity of the country, and to strengthen the partnership between the United States and the Philippines.”


Rekindling US-PHL ties

In the same event, Department of Energy (DoE) Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi noted that the “US investments, especially in the area of energy and power generation, have dwindled for the past years”.

“It is unfortunate that the US seems to have forgotten us, so I hope our American friends in the business community will again take a look at our new initiatives that aim to make the Philippines rife with many investment opportunities,” Cusi said.

Given the urgency of establishing a sustainable global energy future, Cusi pointed out that the DoE is encouraging the further development and utilization of RE without the Feed-In-Tariff (FiT) subsidies.

He said the government stopped the implementation of FiT because it “proved to be a big mistake.”

“It forced electricity prices in the country upwards. We cannot have our consumers shoulder the financial burden of such subsidies any longer. This holds most especially since RE technologies and their markets’ competitiveness have significantly progressed in the past decade,” he explained Relatedly, Cusi cited the geothermal sector as among the areas that need more private sector participation.

“Geothermal energy is an area that we would like to tap and develop. That’s the kind of power we need, and we’d like to see investors from the US doing a 100 percent participation in the development of our geothermal energy,” the energy chief said.

Under the updated Philippine Energy Plan or PEP for 2018-2040, the government implemented “necessary adjustments” to keep up with the new normal.

“By 2040, we envision that the Philippines would have a reliable and sustainable energy supply that will foster a balance between economic growth and the protection of the environment. Investments would be key to transforming this vision into a reality.”