DOE wants energy mix policy, but direction remains a ‘missing link’

by Myrna Velasco – July 21, 2016

from Manila Bulletin

The Department of Energy (DOE) is reiterating its intent to draw up an energy mix policy that shall meet the country’s specific requirements, but the missing link is what direction this administration would really want to pursue.

The department has given pronouncement anew on this following President Rodrigo Duterte’s brickbat against the Paris-drawn pact on climate change commitments of about 200 countries.

This administration has been giving signs to energy sector players that it is an ‘unrepentant coal technology supporter’; but balancing that fossil fuel addiction eventually is the missing middle in their rhetorical bid for economically-beneficial fuel mix policy.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi has just been giving general statement to the media that “we will chart our own course in so far as energy is concerned to ensure energy supply.”

He said this is in consideration of the fact that “developing countries like the Philippines has low carbon emissions.”

And since the country is still on its path to industrialization, “we must use whatever energy resources are available and affordable for power generation.”

What he has been failing to expound on, however, is on ‘how subjective cheap energy is”, because even gas technology-leaning Singapore has cheaper electricity than the Philippines.

Additionally, some countries with increased renewable energy grid integration could still offer cheaper energy because they already veered away from punishing feed-in-tariff subsidies – one that is yet absent in the Philippines.

The energy chief is not also offering any option yet what technology option they are considering in future energy planning once the country’s needs for baseload capacity would already be addressed across grids.

Cusi just noted that “while we signed the Paris agreement last year committing ourselves to limit our carbon emissions, we cannot ignore the fact that our level of economic development at this point does not allow us to rely completely on renewable energy sources or clean energy.”

What he has been missing on also is the fact that energy planning does not just delve with the country’s need at present – but on to the next 30 to 50 years, which is the very thrust of the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) of the Philippines in the Paris climate change diplomacy.

The climate deal is not just about meeting economic growths of individual countries, but for health and environment preservation – one that even this administration just borrowed from the next generation.