Efforts to lay down a long-term energy plan to ensure sustainable power regime for Mindanao could also prepare the island for spatial development initiatives being pursued under a corridors program approach.
“The Mindanao Energy Plan [MEP] sets specific strategies in support of the energy requirements of the Mindanao 2020, especially under its Mindanao Corridors Development,” said Jesus Tamang, director of the Energy Policy and Planning Bureau of the Department of Energy (DOE), during the first leg of series of MEP regional consultations which kicked-off in Cagayan de Oro City recently.
He added that the MEP being crafted for the island strategically in line with the blueprint for development called the Mindanao 2020 Peace and Development Framework Plan.
The DOE official said that his office is working in close collaboration with the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) to achieve better synergy of efforts, noting that, “the Mindanao 2020 strategies are consistent with what we have developed in the energy plan.”
“We need to be ready for structural change. With the increase in power demand in Mindanao, we need to consider all possible sources of energy, preferably indigenous,” said Tamang, citing Mindanao’s potential capacity for alternative energy development.
The Energy department also recommended that Mindanao 2020 integrate an intermodal mass transport system, adding or improving existing airports to increase mobility in the island and cater to the influx of visitors, all of which will require energy.
A spatial development framework pushed by MinDA, the Mindanao Development Corridors is designed to strengthen Mindanao’s competitiveness by increasing the efficiency of industries and its value chain, to create more jobs and foster inclusive economic growth.
The framework builds on existing regional and local plans, but strengthens these with the complementation with other corridors in the island region.
He said that the DOE is seeking the support of the local leaders to achieve energy sufficiency by identifying renewable energy sources within their respective areas.
“We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with DOE on this very important undertaking for Mindanao,” said Romeo Montenegro, director of MinDA Investment Promotion and Public Affairs.
He added that part of the goals of the regional consultation is to seek stakeholder support on the identified immediate measures to the current power supply shortfall that caused intermittent brownouts in parts of Mindanao.
Montenegro also stressed that MinDA supports the development of renewable energy sources, consistent with the Mindanao 2020 strategy on diversification of energy mix, with premium of RE technology.
“We are pushing for more investments in renewable energy projects, particularly hydro, biomass and solar to keep our ideal 50-50 energy mix of RE and fossil-fuel power source by 2030,” he added.
The Energy department spearheads the MEP public consultation in collaboration with MinDA, which co-chairs the Mindanao Power Coordination Committee.
The first consultation drew over 200 power stakeholders and other multi-sectoral representatives, who gave their inputs and recommendations on the formulation of the Mindanao energy plan, which is one of the recommendations during the Mindanao Power Summit held in April 2012.
Similar public consultations will be held in Davao, General Santos, Zamboanga and Butuan.