The Philippines and the European Union (EU) will continue their partnership to provide sustainable energy to rural communities across the country, according to the Department of Energy (DoE).
“We have to focus on energy efficiency and capacity-building to further empower our people, especially those living in rural communities,” Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella told attendees of the 3rd Access to Sustainable Energy Program (ASEP) Steering Committee Meeting last week.
Fuentebella said the government would exert greater efforts to achieve this goal, reiterating the DoE’s ongoing commitment “to empowering all Filipinos, especially those who are marginalized and underprivileged, through sustainable and affordable energy options.”
According to him, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi wants the ASEP work plans to be synchronized with the Philippine Energy Plan and sectoral roadmaps.
One of the department’s strategic directions for 2017-2040 is the expansion of energy access to ensure affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.
The government, through the DoE, wants to attain 100-percent household electrification in the country’s three major island groups by 2022.
It also wants to link the Mindanao grid to the interconnected Visayas and Luzon grids by 2020 to increase power-supply reliability and resilience.
In September, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) expressed optimism about completing the Visayas-Mindanao interconnection project before President Duterte ends his term in 2022.
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) gave provisional approval to the NGCP to undertake the P51.69-million project, which would connect the Visayas and Mindanao grids via Cebu and Zamboanga.
State-run National Transmission Corp. (Transco), however, wants to challenge this project.
Transco President Melvin Matibag previously said they had asked the ERC to look into several issues related to the project. He also questioned the NGCP’s choice of a P15-billion high-voltage direct current (DC) system when “there’s also an available alternating current [AC] transmission” system.
“We are also working with EU-ASEP in drafting a national strategy for energy efficiency in the power sector, strengthening the Government Energy Management Program through building energy performance standards and benchmarking, including reviewing the Energy Efficiency Bill for finalization,” Matibag said.
The ASEP is a joint undertaking of the DoE and the EU to promote total electrification, energy security, efficiency, and sustainability in the country.