DOE sets moratorium on new coal power plants

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    The Department of Energy (DOE) has declared a moratorium on endorsements for greenfield coal power plants.

    Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the decision was made after a periodic assessment of the country’s energy requirements which revealed the need for the country to shift to a more flexible power supply mix.

    “As the Philippine Department of Energy re-evaluates the appropriateness of our current energy mix vis-a-vis our energy goals, I am optimistic this would lead to more opportunities for RE (renewable energy) to figure prominently in our country’s energy future,” Cusi said at yesterday’s virtual ministerial conference organized by the Energy Market Authority, the International Energy Agency and the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore.

    Cusi said as of 2019, the Philippines still had the highest RE share in the total primary energy supply from among countries in Asean.

    “While we have initially embraced a technology- neutral policy, our periodic assessment of our country’s energy requirements is paving the way for innovative adaptations in our policy direction,” Cusi said.

    DOE Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said the moratorium will be in effect until the DOE shall have assessed a need for additional requirements for baseload power plants.

    Fuentebella said power projects that were previously considered committed or are undergoing a competitive selection process will not be covered the moratorium.

    Cusi said the Philippines allows 100 percent foreign ownership for geothermal exploration, development and utilization projects with an initial investment cost of about $50 million capitalization through Financial and Technical Assistance Agreements (FTAAs).

    FTAAs may be entered into between foreign contractors and the Philippine government for the large-scale exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources, and are signed by the President.

    Data from the DOE showed as of end-August, coal power plants had the highest share in committed projects at 3,991 megawatts (MW) followed by 1,750 MW for natural gas fired power plants, 989 MW for battery storage, 425.62 MW for oil-based power plants, 255 MW for wind power projects, 179.58 MW for biomass and 132 MW for wind sources. There are no committed hydro and geothermal power projects.