Dep’t of Energy eyes tie-up with LGUs

By: Irene R. Sino Cruz September 11,2017 - 12:00 AM


THE Department of Energy is urging local government units (LGUs) in the Visayas to come up with their own power resiliency program to address vulnerability to calamities.

The energy department is looking into a partnership with LGUs to help the latter prepare their energy plan, said DOE Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella at the Energy Investment Forum and Stakeholders Conference held on Thursday at the Marco Polo Hotel in Cebu City.

The activity was held to inform stakeholders, specifically investors, on the energy programs, opportunities, financing for power projects and best practices in the power sector. Also, it aims to empower energy consumers through education so they could make informed choices.

Fuentebella explained that they will work with energy planners of LGUs to prepare a power resilient program for specific areas.

He also emphasized that the energy planner should be a tenured civil servant for long-term planning.

The undersecretary cited the need for LGUs in the Visayas to look into long-term power resiliency planning because islands like Samar and Bohol, either rely wholly or partly on the submarine connection to Leyte.

While Bohol has hydro and diesel power facilities, most of its power requirements come from Leyte. On the other hand, Samar solely relies on the power supplied through the submarine cable from Leyte.

Any disruption in power generation or transmission would have adverse impact on these islands, he pointed out.

The energy department is pushing for the development of alternative and renewable energy sources, such as ocean, fuel cells and solar, among others, to improve the energy mix.

About 48 percent of the country’s electricity is supplied by coal-fired power plants, 22 percent from natural gas, 12 percent from geothermal plants, nine percent hydro, six percent from oil-based plants, and the remaining three percent from biomass, solar and wind power facilities.

Undersecretary Fuentebella said though that it would be up to the LGUs to decide what type of energy to develop in their areas.

“This is a question of choice: handling, planning and implementation of power projects,” he said.

The Philippine Energy Development Plan also aims to intensify the development of renewable energy (RE) in off-grid areas, mostly small islands that are not served by the grids. The department plans to increase the renewable energy’s installed capacity to 20,000 megawatts by 2040. Part of the development plan is to strengthen the resiliency of RE systems and facilities.

Fuentebella noted that after Yolanda, the department’s efforts focused on how to strengthen energy facilities against typhoons. They are now looking at strengthening the facilities against earthquakes. The 6.5-magnitude earthquake that occurred near Ormoc City on July 6 had damaged both generation and transmission facilities.

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TAGS: calamities, Department of Energy, energy, Felix William Fuentebella, local government unit, power

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