Government urged to harness local energy sources

The government should focus on tapping more indigenous energy resources, especially renewables, to help protect consumers from volatile oil and coal prices in the international market, a producer alliance said on Thursday. renewable energy (RE).

Jose Layug Jr., president of Developers of Renewable Energy for Advancement (Dream), at a forum hosted by the University of the Philippines School of Economics Alumni Association, revealed that the country does not had not caught up with its objective of installing renewable energy capacities.

“Between 2010 and 2022, we only have an additional 2,300 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity left when the target is 10,000 MW more. We need 8,000 MW between 2022 [and] 2030,” he said.

Added to this, he said, are unreliable power plants that are prone to unplanned outages, the rising cost of coal on the international market and the ongoing war in Ukraine.

He said about 35% of installed generation capacity is from power plants that have been in operation for at least 20 years. As a result, the country has seen an increase in annual blackouts, particularly during the summer months.

With the profile of the existing power plants, the average annual call capacity increased to 2,637 MW at the end of the 2019 billing year compared to 2,258 MW in 2018.

In terms of forced outages, the number increased from 1,231 MW in 2019, 1,783 MW in 2020 and 2,045 MW in August 2021.

These problems could even be exacerbated by the coal export ban imposed by Indonesia, the restriction of gas supplies from Malampaya, the increase in oil prices due to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and delays in the completion of the modernization of transmission lines.

As the country’s economy opens below Alert Level 1, Layug said a peak in demand should be expected next May.

To be able to catch up with the targeted capacity, he suggested that the government should speed up the establishment of new power plants in the country.

“The government should declare the preference or priority of renewables over fossil fuels as a policy to send the right signal to investors,” Layug said.

The government should facilitate the approval of all permits for power plants and encourage distribution utilities and electricity cooperatives to conduct a competitive selection process covering only renewable energy, in accordance with their electricity supply plans.

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