Source: DOE

27 October 2020 – TAGUIG CITY—Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi today said the periodic assessment of the country’s energy requirements has led the Department of Energy (DOE) to declare a moratorium on endorsements for greenfield coal power plants.

According to the Energy Chief, the agency’s most recent assessment revealed the need for the country to shift to a more flexible power supply mix. This would help build a more sustainable power system that will be resilient in the face of structural changes in demand and will be flexible enough to accommodate the entry of new, cleaner, and indigenous technological innovations.

At the same time, Secretary Cusi stated that the Philippines is now allowing 100% foreign ownership in large-scale geothermal exploration, development, and utilization projects. Large-scale geothermal projects are those with an initial investment cost of about USD 50 million capitalization through Financial and Technical Assistance Agreements (FTAAs).

FTAAs may be entered into between foreign contractors and the Philippine government for the large-scale exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources, and are signed by the President.

The Energy Secretary made the announcement in his recorded speech for the 2nd Global Ministerial Conference on System Integration of Renewables, which was held as part of the Singapore International Energy Week 2020.

“While we have initially embraced a technology neutral policy, our periodic assessment of our country’s energy requirements is paving the way for innovative adaptations in our policy direction,” he said.

The moratorium on the endorsements for greenfield coal power plants and the opening up of the country’s geothermal sector to greater foreign investments to further brighten the prospects of our Renewable Energy (RE) landscape, are but among the innovative policies that the DOE will be implementing.

Secretary Cusi said he has already signed on 20 October, a Department Circular providing the guidelines for the third Open and Competitive Selection Process (OCSP3) in the awarding of RE Service Contracts.

“From an investment perspective, OCSP3 allows for 100% foreign ownership in large-scale geothermal exploration, development, and utilization projects,” he pointed out.

In the same event, Secretary Cusi reiterated his commitment to promote RE, as he expressed hope that in time, RE will figure prominently in the country’s energy future.

“As the Philippine Department of Energy re-evaluates the appropriateness of our current energy mix vis-a-vis our energy goals, I am optimistic that this would lead to more opportunities for RE to figure prominently in our country’s energy future,” he said.

Secretary Cusi noted that as of 2019, the Philippines still had the highest RE share in the total primary energy supply from among countries within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.

“Despite this, I am determined to accelerate the development of our country’s indigenous resources. We are also pushing for the transition from fossil fuel-based technology utilization to cleaner energy sources to ensure more sustainable growth for the country,” he said.

These are in addition to the “prosumer” policies the DOE has been actively pursuing, such as the Net Metering policy and the Distributed Energy Resource strategies.

Secretary Cusi also took the opportunity to call on the participants and the energy stakeholders to band and work together as the world embraces the “new normal” resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we slowly rebuild our economies, now is the time for us to band together to further pursue and integrate RE in our long-term energy agendas,” he stressed.

Secretary Cusi added that with ASEAN member-states sharing common aspirational goals, the Philippines remains committed to make its domestic plans consistent with the regional targets “for us to reach our ideal scenario of secured, sustainable, and resilient energy for the future generations.”

The virtual ministerial conference in Singapore was organized by the Energy Market Authority, the International Energy Agency, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore for the 13th Singapore International Energy Week.