Bataan plant to undergo study for conversion to LNG terminal

The new Department of Energy (DOE) secretary Alfonso Cusi said they are looking at converting the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) into a terminal for liquefied natural gas (LNG).

“One of the projects that we will be undertaking is to put up an LNG receiving and distribution center… and that could be in Bataan. It could be converted,” the chairman said during DOE’s turnover ceremony in Taguig.

The Philippines’ growing economy cannot ignore coal’s capacity to provide power and instead the DOE will come up with “a healthy balance of coal and renewable power plants.”

He said the push for renewables-only is not possible for now because the country cannot just depend on a single source for its baseload power.

Although nuclear energy is an optional energy source, feasibility studies need to be conducted. The government maintains the BNPP site at P40 million per year, and the new secretary still needs to review if this is relevant.

“If you’re asking if I’m open to nuclear, well, if it’s the solution, why not but I’m not saying I will do it,” hesaid.

“But that requires more detailed study and I believe initial discussion with the World Bank, International Finance Corp. they are willing to fund study in making that an LNG terminal.”

The proposed conversion of BNPP came after the news that the Malampaya supply will only last until 2022 or 2024.

“We are looking at Malampaya supply being gone by 2022, 2024 and we would also like to have more investors in clean energy plants. That [conversion project] would help find a balance in renewables, clean air and coal,” the Energy secretary said.

For his first ten days in office, Cusi said he will be having meetings with the staff before having talks with service providers and addressing the public’s concerns. He also wants to lower the power rates, work on the electrification of Mindanao, and a possible next round of the feed-in-tariff (FIT) scheme.