ECCP: Clean energy mix vital to economic growth

Carlo S. Lorenciana (Banat) - September 29, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines has pushed for further development of the Philippine energy sector particularly in the bid to achieve a clean energy mix.

"The implementation of a clean energy mix is crucial to the long term sustainability of the Philippine economy," said Henry Schumacher, ECCP vice president.

On October 13, the ECCP, together with Conergy, one of the largest solar energy companies, is organizing the Energy SMART Visayas congress at the Radisson Blu Cebu.

The congress will focus on the 2016-2030 Philippine Energy Plan that aims to establish a secure, affordable, reliable and sustainable energy in the Philippines.

Expected to attend the congress are power company executives, officials from the Department of Energy (DOE), policymakers, business leaders, green technology advocates and the consuming public.

The energy congress has four key subjects in its agenda: the hurdles of maintaining adequate power from generation to distribution; future policies that can ensure a sustainable energy framework for Visayas; an exploration to expand Visayas' future energy sources towards biofuels and solar which can be locally generated to augment the island's total energy output; and the success stories of companies that already have existing energy saving technology and practices in place.

On having a balanced fuel mix for the power sector, Schumacher said it is important to ensure economic growth with reduced environmental impact.

The DOE has developed an energy mix policy prescribing a 30 percent share of power sources from renewable energy, 30 percent from coal, 30 percent from natural gas and the remaining 10 percent from oil.

But despite this DOE policy, it is predicted that coal power could account for up to 56 percent of the country's energy mix by 2020 with 23 power plants expected to be operational in the next five years.

Schumacher said the ECCP welcomes the present administration's plan to review the planned coal plants and applications for new coal plants as a measure to ensure that the implementation of the country's energy strategy is aligned to the energy mix policy.

ECCP also said Visayas, in particular, needs to prepare for its rising energy needs in order to remain competitive.

Schumacher said it is essential that the growing energy demand fueled by continued economic growth can be met in coming years.

Without adequate supply of quality energy at competitive prices, business and subsequently the economy will suffer, said the ECCP executive.

Energy security will continue to be the prime focus of the country's energy authorities.

In terms of access to electricity, Schumacher deemed this as an urgent requirement of the country as the Duterte administration seeks to alleviate poverty in the countryside.

Likewise, the energy sector is also looking to create an integrated grid system in the country, this as the demand for energy supply continues to grow across the country.

Given the expected economic expansion in Mindanao under the current government, Schumacher said a grid link between the Visayas and Mindanao is essential. 

The ongoing discussion on energy security and the global recognition that energy efficiency and conservation are vital to the sustainability of the energy sector, he also said. (FREEMAN)

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