With rotating brownouts hitting some parts of the country, Senator Richard Gordon has pressed the Department of Energy to prepare for a looming power gap.
“We have to prepare for a power gap, which is coming, and we have to make a decision,” Gordon told Energy officials in a recent hearing at the Senate.
“From what you are saying, we are running in order to stay in place. In other words, we’re just running to have a reserve for the moment. Right now, we are approaching seven percent growth rate, and we could go to nine percent or 10 percent. But when we reach nine or 10 percent growth rate, you will have greater energy demand,” the senator added.
Gordon said the government should make preparations to ensure that there would be sufficient power supply to support an increased growth rate.
“What does it augur for the country then if we don’t look for a continuity of supply for the next years? We should look at the situation not only nationally but also geographically—continuity of supply not only in Luzon but also in the Visayas and Mindanao. We must have sufficient resources to run these factories, to run the houses,” he said.
The senator also expressed inclination toward nuclear power plants as energy source despite its unpopularity.
He said countries like France, China, and Taiwan, among others, are using nuclear plants as efficient sources of energy.
“I don’t care if nuclear energy is unpopular as long as it provides uninterrupted power supply. Other countries are doing it…I think we have national mental dwarfism,” he said.
The energy department said nuclear power was among options that it will pursue to ensure long-term energy stability for the country, along with other power sources.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said nuclear power was viable as it is cheap to produce and has greater longevity than other depletable sources such as natural gas and coal.
The current national energy supply is at 17,925 megawatts, sufficient for the demand for 13,500 MW, Cusi said.
Cusi said the supply is only compromised by unexpected outages and simultaneous maintenance shutdowns of powerplants, a situation that led to the supply shortage in Luzon a month ago.