JFC urges gov’t to entice new power investments

By Myrna M. Velasco – November 22, 2019, 10:00 PM
from Manila Bulletin

The Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) of the Philippines is urging the Philippine government to provide a viable investment climate that shall attract fresh multi-billion dollar investments in new power capacity.

Lamentably at this point, the Department of Energy (DOE) leadership of the Duterte administration has not cornered new big-ticket power projects yet that will satiate the country’s energy needs amid the massive infrastructure development buildup being pursued.

And the biggest challenge for Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi is proving that the disparate economics of greenfield (new) and brownfield (existing) capacities on his competitive selection process (CSP) dictum for power supply contracting could really entice capital flow for new power projects.

The JFC fleshed out various recommendations to the government when it comes to improving investment incentives in the power sector – especially in this season of demand growth driven by the country’s expanding economy.

The foreign chambers indicated that the main thrust of their recommendations “is to encourage new generation proponents and promote competition.”

Among the “to-do list” for government that they lodged delved with hastening the implementation of retail competition and open access (RCOA); manage and prudently integrate the forced outage rates of power plants in energy planning; promotion of upstream oil and gas exploration activities; promoting competition instead of restricting third party access in liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals; and truly streamline project permitting and licensing processes in the sector.

When it comes to addressing the recurrent forced outages in power plants, the JFC propounded that “capacity planning must be robust, taking a probabilistic approach that accounts for forced outage rates and the effects of increasingly adverse summer conditions.”

The aggrupation of business organizations opined that “the most expensive electricity is no electricity,” while adding that it would be better for the country’s power system “to have excess than deficit.”