WALA RAW KAILANGAN IKATAKOT: DOE guarantees secure energy supply even with “Build, Build, Build”

Consumer group CitizenWatch supports DOE’s new energy mix

Following Senator Juan Ponce Enrile’s concerns over a possible power crisis and energy supply deficiency, the Department of Energy (DOE) assured the public that there are ongoing efforts to secure the country’s future energy requirements.

“The Department of Energy appreciates the advocacy of former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile,” said the agency was quoted as saying in a Business Mirror report.

The energy department added that they are continuously seeking ways to have enough capacity for future requirements under the infrastructure program of the Duterte administration.

According to the agency, they are on top of efforts such as crafting policies for the further development and utilization of renewable- energy (RE) sources; evaluating the possibility of harnessing nuclear energy; the ongoing amendment of the minimum inventory requirement for oil companies; the ongoing push for the establishment of a liquefied natural gas facility; and the energy efficiency and conservation policy.

The efforts are meant to make the Philippines energy secure and equitable amidst the rising demand.

“We need to generate inclusive and sustainable economic development and make the country globally competitive,” the DOE said.

The department has also been looking at the feasibility of including nuclear power into the country’s energy mix through its Nuclear Energy Program Implementing Organization.

The consideration of including nuclear power in the energy mix is connected to the department’s aim to provide uninterrupted, secure, reliable, sustainable, and affordable electricity throughout the archipelago.

“We are technology neutral because we want to explore all possible ways to bring affordable, secure and reliable power to Filipinos throughout the entire archipelago. I believe this is the time for us to take a leap and include nuclear power into our energy mix. We wouldn’t want to wait until we are all crying for power before we actually do something,” Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi was quoted as saying.

A technology neutral policy is being followed as the country aims to attain energy security with its growing energy demand, as stated under the Philippine Energy Plan 2017-2040.

The full implementation of renewable energy policies also took place last year including the issuance of circulars on Green Energy Option Program and Renewable Portfolio Standards.

The agency has been actively getting possible investments in the natural gas industry with the Philippine Downstream Natural Gas Regulation.

“In addition, the DOE remains committed to promoting energy efficiency measures to improve the country’s energy security,” the agency added.

Enrile is pushing government leaders to act fast on the looming energy crisis which may be worsened by the energy demands of the BBB program under the Duterte administration.

“We do not have any source of hydrocarbon energy in the country except Malampaya. If a war happens in Russia or in the Middle East or in Africa or in Latin America that will affect the supply of crude, what do you think will happen here? In one week’s time, we will not have enough supply of power,” Enrile was quoted as saying.

The DOE is hoping the new Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program (PCECP) would be successful in developing new indigenous energy sources. The contracting program was launched last November.

The department said PCECP is a new mechanism as it offers a two-pronged approach unlike the earlier contracting program wherein investors can only bid in areas determined by the government.

With this new and transparent petroleum service contract, it allows the government to do the development and utilization of indigenous petroleum resources under a contract with qualified local and international firms.

It also allows investors to nominate their own areas of interest. The application would be subjected a 60-day challenge period.

“The program was enhanced to encourage stakeholders to invest, explore, develop and produce the nation’s indigenous energy resources,” Cusi said. “It is our intensified approach to harness these resources for long-term energy security and energy self-sufficiency,” he added.