MANILA, Philippines – Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi has called on the American business community to look into opportunities in the Philippine energy sector, particularly in renewable energy, as the country continues to seek the accelerated attainment of a secure and sustainable energy future.
Speaking at the Virtual Economic Briefing organized by the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. on Thursday, the Energy chief gave a brief rundown on the country’s energy landscape, including potential areas for enhanced bilateral energy cooperation.
“We are doing all we can to ensure that the country’s current energy requirements are met without compromising the ability of future generations to secure theirs,” he said.
Cusi, however, noted that US investments, especially in the area of energy and power generation, have dwindled in the past years.
“It is unfortunate that the US seems to have forgotten us, so I hope our American friends in the business community will again take a look at our new initiatives that aim to make the Philippines rife with many investment opportunities,” he said.
Given the urgency of establishing a sustainable global energy future, Cusi said the DOE is encouraging the further development and utilization of renewable energy without the Feed-In-Tariff (FiT) subsidies.
He said the government stopped the implementation of FiT because it “proved to be a big mistake.”
“It forced electricity prices in the country upwards. We cannot have our consumers shoulder the financial burden of such subsidies any longer. This holds true most especially since RE technologies and their markets’ competitiveness have significantly progressed in the past decade,” the DOE chief explained.
When asked which particular area of renewable energy he would like to see more private sector participation, Cusi cited the development of the country’s geothermal sector.
“Geothermal energy is an area that we would really like to tap and develop. That’s the kind of power we need, and we’d like to see investors from the US doing a 100% participation in the development of our geothermal energy,” he said.
The DOE chief also took the opportunity to brief the US investors on the updated Philippine Energy Plan or PEP for 2018-2040, which contains the necessary adjustments undertaken by the government in light of recent global developments, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
“By 2040, we envision that the Philippines would have a reliable and sustainable energy supply that will foster a balance between economic growth and the protection of the environment. Investments would be key to transforming this vision into a reality,” he said.
Cusi also mentioned other programs that the US business community may be interested to invest in, such as the Green Energy Option Program (GEOP), where clean energy advocates can source their clean power requirements through our Retail Electricity Suppliers (RES); the Green Energy Auction Program (GEAP), which provides an additional market for RE Developers with the end view of accelerating greater entry of renewables in the power industry; and the Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program (PCECP) that facilitates the exploration and development of the country’s indigenous resources and revitalize the upstream oil and gas sector.
There may also be investment opportunities in the future in the areas of nuclear energy and hydrogen, he added.
“The Philippines is ready to embrace the New Normal. We have been preparing for it and we are now steadily reopening our economy to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
The virtual economic briefing, held to celebrate the 75 years of PH-US bilateral relations, brought together PH and US government officials and private sector representatives to chart the way forward for two-way trade and investments in the context of both countries’ pandemic response and recovery plans.