A Binay presidency will move toward ensuring that all Filipinos, particularly in Mindanao where the power issue remains unsolved, will have access to cheap electricity and long-term energy supply and security, according to Vice President Jejomar Binay.
“We will pursue legislative measures to address energy needs, including the liberalization of the constitutional policies on foreign investments,” Binay said on Thursday.
He noted the importance of getting more investors in the power sector and vowed to streamline the application process for construction of power plants.
“My administration will cut down the bureaucratic inefficiencies that delay the construction of new power plants. It currently requires 160 signatures gathered over two years before a new power plant is approved,” Binay said.
“We will streamline the application process for new power plants to ramp-up Mindanao’s power supply,” he added.
Binay is in South Cotabato to attend the birthday celebration of Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao.
He mentioned that Mindanao’s power supply is lower than demand, which affects long-term productivity and business viability.
Binay said as of November 23, the Mindanao grid had a capacity of 1,157 megawatts, which is 212 megawatts short of the peak demand at 1,360 megawatts.
Mindanao is projected to require at least 500 MW of new capacity by 2016, another 500 MW by 2020 and 1,600 MW by 2030.
At present, it relies on two government-run hydropower plants for 50 percent of its supply.
The threat of El Nino puts Mindanao’s energy supply at risk, Binay said.
He also noted that while new coal-fired plants are expected to come after 2015, officials say that as supply improves, Mindanao also needs to brace for rate increases.
Parts of Mindanao have been experiencing rotational power interruptions in the past several days because of continuing decline of power supply from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).
As of December 14, NGCP advised an additional deficiency of 40MW because of reduced capacity of STEAG power plant in Misamis Oriental.