DOE calls to strengthen transmission system

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In transitioning to “cleaner sources of power”, there is a need to upgrade and modernize the transmission of the country’s transmission and distribution lines, Energy Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla said. 

During the World Bank Philippines Forum, Lotilla shared that the Department of Energy (DOE) said it is focused on Sustainable Development Goal 1 (SDG 1) which is the reduction of poverty and the increase of access to energy for everyone. 

To date, the electrification of the country stands roughly at 96% at the end of 2022, which leaves almost a million households, or at least five million without access to clean energy. 

Referring to the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) of the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., Lotilla emphasized on the transmission infrastructure in relation to clean energy is clear. 

“In our desire to transition to cleaner sources of power, we need a number of things, and one of them that I want to emphasize is the need for transmission,” Lotilla said. 

The government will speed up the upgrading and modernization of the transmission and distribution lines to support an efficient transition to cleaner energy. They are also aiming to address transmission congestion, by adding transmission lines or avoiding subsidies that cause the build-up of excess capacity. 

Lotilla added that the government will revise and re-evaluate financing investment in transmission. 

“Financing investments will be separated from the regulatory structure of transmission tariffs, and investment in transmission expansion offers enormous potential benefits for efficiency by increasing access to low-cost generation, improving reliability, and mitigating counterbalancing market power,” he said.

The energy department is also seeing the potential for building other infrastructure that is in line with the energy sector. Potential locations along with the rights of way are going to be identified for the new BOT and PPP projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). 

The energy secretary challenged the World Bank and other development partners, encouraging a just and fair transition. He added that transition financing or climate financing should be available to the country. With its reform in the power industry 20 years ago by privatization, unfortunately, the country is not part of the energy transition partnerships that have already been put in place. He added that those that have remained government-owned should receive international support. 

“I challenge particularly World Bank, because I know that they have enough brains in the institution and as well as in among our development partners, to put the work in order to provide solutions for this great challenge,” Lotilla said.