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DoE urged to expedite clean energy transition

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THE Department of Energy (DoE) must step up its clean energy efforts and implement policy that will bring about the “full and swift” transition of the power sector, an environmental think tank said Wednesday.

“The economic impact of the pandemic and the devastation from climate calamities we recently experienced are all the more reason for DoE to hasten its clean energy efforts… Until the DoE sets in place policies that paves a path for a full and swift transformation of the power sector, all it can expect are watchful eyes and voices demanding for its accountability,” Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development Executive Director Gerard C. Arances told BusinessWorld.

Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi on Tuesday outlined a low-carbon scenario for energy policy which had a power supply mix increasing the share of renewable energy, natural gas and other emerging clean energy technologies.

Mr. Cusi, in an earlier statement, said he sees the possibility of clean energy sources accounting for 66% of the energy mix within 20 years.

Mr. Arances said Mr. Cusi’s position represents a turnaround from his previous stance of “technology neutrality,” a position which did not discriminate against power sources like coal or nuclear.

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“In the last two years, Secretary Cusi held out against the president’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2019 marching orders to reduce coal dependence, insisted on declaring detrimental forms of energy like nuclear and waste-to-energy as clean and renewable, and announced a coal moratorium that seemingly would leave the coal project pipeline untouched,” Mr. Arances said in an e-mail interview.

He added that the current Philippine Energy Plan (PEP), which aims to “expand the country’s coal and fossil fuel fleet, is not compliant with climate and economic imperatives set by experts.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Cusi announced that the DoE approved the updated PEP 2018-2040, and submitted this to Congress. “The updated version will help the energy family and our stakeholders better understand what the energy situation will be 20 years from now,” he said in a statement.

The updated PEP aims to increase production of clean indigenous sources of energy; encourage energy efficiency; and balance reliable and reasonably priced energy services, with support for economic growth and environmental protection.

He added that the DoE is currently prioritizing the National Renewable Energy Program 2020-2040, which aims to hit 34,000 megawatts of new renewable energy capacity in 20 years’ time.

Last month, the DoE ordered a moratorium on new coal-fired projects with the intent of making the power supply mix more flexible. — Angelica Y. Yang

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