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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Power supply undergoes transition, seen stable in 2024

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Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla expressed optimism about the country’s power supply for 2024, while emphasizing the need for global support in a “just” energy transition away from fossil fuels.

“We did manage to contain the weaknesses in 2023, and 2024 promises to be better, especially with the completion of major transmission connections,” Lotilla said in a recent news briefing.

He acknowledged the threat of El Niño on hydropower generation, underscoring the importance of diversifying energy sources. However, he cautioned against relying solely on renewable energy (RE) due to balancing power needs.

“We’ve got to be open to all technologies, including natural gas. But we can’t go 100-percent renewable at this point,” Lotilla said. “We need to find that balance.”

Shifting away from coal

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The DOE pledged support for companies like ACEN Corp., which is pioneering the early retirement of its coal-fired power plant in Batangas.

“We will help them explore access to climate financing, such as carbon credits or transition credits,” Lotilla said.

He said the burden of the energy transition should not fall solely on Filipino consumers already facing high electricity costs.

“Unlike other resource-rich countries that subsidize their power sector, the Philippines relies on cross-subsidy for marginalized consumers and renewable energy incentives,” Lotilla said.

“Therefore, the cost of transition and infrastructure investments will be borne by consumers unless we find strategic ways to shift the burden,” he said.

International support

The DOE called for international cooperation and access to climate financing for a smooth and equitable energy transition. It lauded the Asian Development Bank and ACEN’s Energy Transition Mechanism as an example of such initiatives.

“Our energy transition goes beyond coal retirement,” Lotilla said. “It also involves expanding access to electricity in remote areas, building a smart and green grid, improving distribution systems, increasing energy storage capacity, and making energy affordable for all. Adequate and timely access to climate financing is crucial for the Philippines to achieve these goals.”

The Department of Energy said it remains committed to securing a stable power supply while addressing the climate crisis by scaling up renewable energy, as it aims for a 50-percent RE share by 2040.

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