Cusi pushes incentive scheme for innovation in energy tech

By Myrna M. Velasco – August 9, 2017, 10:01 PM

from Manila Bulletin

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi is “talking the talk” when it comes to incentivizing innovation on energy technologies, but the missing pieces in the equation would be concretizing them in the policy and implementation domains.

At the ongoing Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) on Energy in Bohol, the Philippine energy chief sounded off that “innovation is the key driver that we need in order to achieve security and sustainability.”

That as a given, he thus pleaded that “governments must develop a regulatory environment that supports our innovators and researchers.”

Realistically though among all Asian countries, the Philippines is apparently “down market” as regards to providing support to research and development (R&D) initiatives.

For the industry players in the energy sector, Cusi reckons that “governments must be willing to provide the necessary support for players who want to bring fresh energy solutions.”

By taking a plunge into that, he noted that the country would also be able to advance its goal of eventually “making electricity rates affordable to consumers.”

On innovation sphere, there have been myriad of developments getting headway in the energy sector – but the Philippines is lagging behind even compared to its neighbors in the Southeast Asian region.

For instance, digitization has been widely encroaching into energy systems – for the power sector to both achieve cost savings and pare carbon emissions – but the Philippines still struggles at having its policy toolbox on this area.

In fact, even deployment of battery storage that could solve intermittency dilemmas of variable renewable energy (VRE) resources had not been fully addressed on the incentive scheme arena, despite the fact that such solution has already been proposed and set for pilot in the last 4-5 years.

At this stage, Cusi can only appeal that “all players must be willing to invest in new technologies that not only increases reliability, but reduces emissions.”

For a country that is so much fledgling on innovation as well as R&D initiatives, Cusi is aware that it cannot do such still on its own, and that the viable way forward for the Philippines would be to heed lessons and best practices from counterpart-nations.

“It’s not just enough to focus internally. It is also important to promote closer cooperation among our countries,” the Philippine energy chief stressed.