DOE entices Korean investors

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

from Manila Bulletin

The Department of Energy (DOE) is in a “fresh courting stage” to the South Korean investors which it has been rallying in for new capital flow in the country’s targeted additional power capacity.

That has been the message set out by Energy Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella in his talks before the Korea-Asia Energy Cooperation seminar in Seoul last week.

Being pitched had been the 43,765 megawatts of power capacity that the energy department had penciled in to satiate the country’s electricity requirements onward to year 2040.

Fuentebella told Korean investors that “the required additional power capacity represents a three-fold increase in the Philippine demand for energy.”

Beyond the power plant projects, he also proffered the need for integrative energy infrastructures such as the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal and the targeted interconnection of the Visayas-Mindanao grids.

For the renewable energy sector, Fuentebella advanced word on the issuance of guidelines on the portended Green Energy Option the soonest possible time.

Notably, Korean investors swarmed the country during the regime of the independent power producer (IPP) contracts to help solve the worst Philippine power crisis in the 1990s.

From that time on, they have been looking for “guarantee mechanism” in power investments that could have been akin to the government-underpinned supply contracts then via the state-run National Power Corporation.

But with the restructuring of the Philippine power sector that already turned largely private sector-driven, the “sweetener” dangled by Fuentebella had been the Executive Order 30 of President Rodrigo Duterte to shorten approval and permitting processes for energy projects of national significance.

The Presidential mandate sets provision on the harmonization of policies and rules, so such could resolve the traditionally long and tricky affairs of project approvals – often the punishing track leading to exodus of investors – and that would be a task for the yet-to-be- institutionalized Energy Investment Coordinating Council.

Following the forum, Fuentebella had given feedback that “several Korean companies expressed interest in exploring energy investment opportunities in the Philippines.”