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DoE pushes energy shift



The looming power crisis that may happen following the Indonesian government’s ban on foreign shipments of coal has been averted, but the Department of Energy (DoE) is considering pursuing policies that would promote the country’s energy independence.

“(The decision) was a welcome development. As you know, we wrote Indonesia to appeal its decision of banning coal export. Gradual lifting will mean an assured supply to PH Gencos (Philippine power generation companies) that have a supply contract with Indonesia,” Cusi relayed through a text message on Wednesday.

Should the Indonesian ban on coal proceed, Cusi said the DoE will encourage the shift to alternative energy resources such as natural gas, renewables, hydrogen, and nuclear energy as part of its medium- to long-term solution.

As for its short-term plan, Cusi said the DoE was ready to hold domestic coal exports, which were at 10.24 million metric tons (MMT) amounting to 67 percent of 15.27 MMT local production in 2019, for blending to higher heating value coal or direct use.

Cusi also added that the DoE would diversify the source of coal importation from Australia, South Africa, Russia, and Peru as well as encourage energy efficiency measures.

Despite pushing for a cleaner energy mix, power generated from coal still comprises about 60 percent of the country’s power demand.

Thus, if the ban on export shipments of coal will continue, the Philippines may experience a shortage of power supply that may eventually lead to spiking prices of power rates — sending consumers to the losing end.

Last year alone, the Philippines sourced 2.3 million metric tons monthly from Indonesia to fuel the country’s coal-fired power plants.