Aboitiz Power: Nuclear needs to be safe, cost-competitive

Nuclear Option at UPSE

Aboitiz Power Corporation (AboitizPower) believes that the Philippine nuclear program should prioritize safety and competitive prices. 

Nuclear power is observed as a zero-emissions baseload addition to the growth of renewable energy (RE). According to the Department of Energy (DOE), 1,200 megawatts (MW) capacity from nuclear power is targeted to be included in the energy mix by 2032.

“Number one, nuclear energy has to be safe, full stop. At the same time, it has to be reliable and affordable,” said AboitizPower Head of Energy Transition Projects Felino Bernardo.

Bernardo added that the lifespan of a nuclear power plant, which usually ran for 40 to 60 years, would play an important part in its levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). LCOE would determine the cost of building and operating a power plant; its estimate would control the average profitability of power produced per kilowatt-hour. 

“Nuclear has a different kind of economics, with high capital expenditures (CapEx) and lowrunning costs…But these are just the CapEx and running costs. We’re not yet talking about externalities like impact to the environment, to health, and to supporting the growing share of intermittent sources in the electricity grid. We have to take all these into consideration,” Bernardo added.

Furthermore, the AboitizPower official said that the delays, partnered with high-interest rates, would deem the nuclear project “uneconomic.”

“It really depends on the quality of planning, the strength of the supply chain, and the regulatoryEnvironment,” said Bernardo.

The demand for electricity was estimated to soar by 6.6% annually until 2040. As a result, the government aimed to increase the contribution of renewable energy to the grid by 50% in the same year.

AboitizPower stressed that the transition to renewable energy should be closely monitored as it is challenging to strike a balance in the power mix and in order to achieve this, both public and private sectors are expected to take part in the transition.