Author: Kier Edison C. Belleza
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the country is witnessing “a paradigm shift in the approach to energy development and energy utilization.”
Cusi made the observation last Thursday as he spoke at the opening of the Energy Investment Forum and Stakeholders Conference here. The conference was a follow through of the Manila leg, which was held last July in Pasay City.
In his keynote speech Cusi presented the Department of Energy’s (DOE) major initiatives to ensure that there will be “affordable, reliable, modern and sustainable” energy in the country in the years to come.
He said the government “will pursue fuel- and technology-neutrality, balancing environmental concerns and socio-economic growth through a competitive selection process to ensure reasonably priced energy.”
This initiative will be coupled with a three-pronged approach driven by three I’s – incentives, investments and innovation.
Under the three I’s approach, the government will provide the necessary support for players who want to invest in new technologies that not only increase reliability, but also reduce emissions.
DOE had projected that the country needs an additional energy capacity of almost 44,000 megawatts from 2017 to 2040, in accordance with the Philippine Energy Plan (PEP) 2017-2040.
Aside from drawing up roadmaps, the PEP will provide information to help energy investors formulate business plans and strategies.
Among DOE’s initiatives is the E-Power Mo! (EPM) Campaign, which outlines President Duterte’s energy policy agenda with the following objectives:
- Develop and utilize the energy resources available to Filipinos for wealth creation and global competition (E-Power Mo!)
- Undertake safety and savings measures through energy efficiency (E-Safety Mo!)
- Secure the delivery of quality, reliable, and affordable energy services (E-Secure Mo!)
- Empower consumers through a wide range of options in utilizing conventional, renewable and alternative energy sources (E-Diskarte Mo!)
EPM is spearheaded by the DOE in collaboration with the Presidential Communications Operations Office and the Philippine Information Agency.
In the same conference, the documentary “Lampara ng Pangarap,” which highlighted options in coping with energy poverty using alternative energy technology and solutions, was shown.
According to Cusi, the DOE is pushing for a policy initiative to attain a “disaster-resilient” Philippines.
The policy will be called the “Adoption of Resiliency Planning and Program in the Energy Industry to Mitigate Adverse Effects Brought About by Disasters.”
Major principles considered under the policy include the strengthening of existing infrastructures, implementation of the “build-back better” principle in rebuilding infrastructure, improvement of operational, maintenance standards and practices, as well as resiliency standards for new energy facilities.
It requires all the energy players to streamline disaster risk reduction programs in planning and investment to ensure the continuous delivery and strengthening of the existing energy infrastructure.
Specifically, the policy will institutionalize the Energy Sector Resiliency Compliance Program, which provides engineering and non-engineering measures to ensure infrastructure and human resource disaster preparedness.
It encompasses activities such as stockpiling, system development and planning, response and recovery, including disaster protocols.
To finalize the policy, the DOE will hold a series of public consultations nationwide. The schedule of hearings is yet to be disclosed.
Just recently, President Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) No. 30 “Creating the Energy Investment Coordinating Council (EICC) to Streamline Regulatory Procedures Affecting Energy Projects.”
Cusi said the council, led by the DOE, is “good news” for investors since it will coordinate the efforts of government agencies to speed up the implementation of major energy projects.
The EO instructs government agencies to act on applications of energy projects within 30 days upon the complete submission of requirements.
Another significant provision of the EO is the “Presumption of Prior Approvals,” which will give the processing agency the power to act on project applications that have all the relevant permits from other concerned government agencies.