Monday, March 1, 2021

Low-carbon sources to spur energy transition


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THE Department of Energy (DoE) is banking on nonconventional energy sources to spur the country’s energy transition, according to one of its officials.

“We are working to realize a future marked by decreasing coal and oil shares to be brought about by an increase in the utilization of alternative fuels for transport, among others,” said Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi in his speech that was read by Energy Undersecretary Jesus Cristino Posadas.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi. (The Manila Times file photo)

“In addition, we are also anticipating a shift in our power generation mix, again from one that is coal-centered, to one where renewable energy, natural gas and other emerging sustainable energy technologies make up two-thirds of our total generation by year 2040,” Cusi said during the Philippine Energy Transition: A Race Through Economic Disruption, Technology Shifts and Innovation, a virtual forum organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and the Philippine Energy Independence Council (PEIC). on Thursday

The Energy department unveiled the updated Philippine Energy Plan (PEP) 2018-2040, wherein the agency envisions a “clean energy” or “low carbon” scenario.

The said energy blueprint, Cusi said, is among the agency’s initiatives to accelerate the transition towards sustainable energy development.


Among the objectives of the revised PEP 2018-2040 include increasing the production of clean and indigenous energy sources to meet the country’s economic development; reducing wasteful energy utilization through the application of energy efficiency tools and strategies; and ensuring the balance among the provision of reliable and reasonably priced energy services, support for economic growth, and environmental protection.

“On the transition, it’s really the combination of clean sources pushing clean sources – RE (renewable energy) plus low and no carbon sources like natural gas and hydrogen and even nuclear,” said Posadas during the event.

The renewable effort is also complemented by the agency’s move to impose a ban on new coal-fired power plants.

Early this month, the agency issued an advisory outlining the scope of the moratorium on greenfield coal-fired power plants or those coal facilities that are yet to be constructed.

The moratorium excludes existing and operational coal-fired power generation facilities, as well as committed and indicative power projects with substantial accomplishments.

“That’s basically the idea that we would like to in terms of supporting the energy transition,” Posadas said.

Shell Philippines Exploration B.V. Managing Director and General Manager Don Paulino said the industry needs to look into the following to move forward and be innovative: policy and regulations, infrastructure, technology and innovation, and market design and financial instruments.

“We cannot deal with energy issues in isolation, especially this complex issue of transitioning from fossil fuel to a cleaner source,” said Paulino, who is also the president of PEIC.

“We have to be able to align with one another in such a way that the whole value chain is seamless, complementary and helpful to one another to allow us to transition,” he added.

Even though Paulino said shifting away from conventional energy sources is “quite expensive” and entails a lot of effort, First Gen Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Jonathan Russell said the entities have the liberty to undertake small or large RE facilities.

“The beauty of RE is that it can be developed in a small scale or even utility scale. [A] range of different size of companies and individuals that can avail those kind of options,” he said.

Cusi said the country’s energy sector must endure, move forward and maximize the opportunities presented by the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in the economy.

“If anything, the year 2020 has provided us with the gateway to fast-track the energy transition as we endeavor to rebuild back better in the years to come,” he added.



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