(UPDATED) The Department of Energy (DOE) has asked the Indonesian government to lift its ban on coal exports.
In his letter to Indonesian Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Arifin Tarsif dated January 6, Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi appealed for the lifting of the ban, specifically to the Philippines.
Cusi stressed the healthy economic cooperation between the two countries and that Indonesia’s recent policy will be “detrimental to economies that (currently) rely on coal-fired power generation systems like the Philippines.”
“Kailangan pa naming makuha yung detalye ng gustong mangyari ng Indonesia. We’re also banking on our relationship with Indonesia — kung ano yung mga pwedeng mapag-usapan — dahil hindi naman tayo after sa entire production ng Indonesia, but we just want to get yung nakukuha natin sa ngayon,” Energy Usec. Felix William Fuentebella told reporters at a briefing.
Last year alone, the Philippines sourced 2.3 million metric tons monthly from Indonesia to fuel the country’s coal-fired power plants, according to Cusi. “Power generated from coal comprises about 60% of the country’s power demand,” the secretary stated in his letter.
The Indonesian government recently announced the ban, which would last for the entire January, to avert a looming power crisis in the country. As a result, local power generation companies (gencos) are looking to other countries like Australia and Russia for their coal supply.
The DOE’s Electric Power Industry Management Bureau (EPIMB) and Energy Resource Development Bureau are scheduled to meet with the country’s coal-based gencos this Wednesday to discuss the next steps to address the issue.
Fuentebella added that Cusi directed the EPIMB, as well as the Renewable Energy Management and Planning bureaus to work on diversifying the Philippines’ power sources, as well maximizing the potential of renewable energy technologies, such as steam and biomass.
“But it also requires a detailed study, including also, but not limited [to pricing]. Anong magiging impact ng presyo sa mga tao,” Fuentebella qualified.