THE Department of Energy (DoE) is considering a target of 2,400 megawatts (MW) in nuclear power capacity by 2035, a goal which could be incorporated into the Philippine Energy Plan.

“We are running our numbers in terms of reliability cost. Right now, we don’t have a fixed number in terms of capacity,” Michael O. Sinocruz, director of the Energy Policy and Planning Bureau, said in a virtual forum hosted by the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Mr. Sinocruz said that under the Philippine Energy Plan for 2030 to 2050, the government is hoping to put about eight 150-MW small modular reactors in operation by 2032 and establish a 1,200-MW nuclear facility in Luzon by 2035.

“We will have a firm capacity to be included in the mix in the succeeding Philippine Energy plan, once we have a law establishing an independent atomic energy regulatory commission which is still pending in the Congress now,” Mr. Sinocruz said.

The DoE has said that it expects to complete the next Philippine Energy Plan by September, which will include the share of nuclear in the energy mix.

The Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) has said that the Philippines must create a separate body to regulate the industry. The PNRI at the moment is both the regulator and promoter of nuclear power.

Mr. Sinocruz said that the government has not yet ruled out the rehabilitation of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).

“We are not yet abandoning the possible rehabilitation of the BNPP, but we need to do a feasibility study (whether a rehab can be done) at reasonable cost. We need to commission (studies); there are several proposals that we received for the feasibility study,” Mr. Sinocruz added.

Mr. Sinocruz added that the DoE is also planning to increase its target for the share of renewable energy (RE) in the power mix when it releases the next Philippine Energy Plan.

“We are going to target higher RE share — more than 50% — because of the entry of offshore wind; and we might consider that some capacity from coal will have to retire because of the entry of other RE technologies,” he said.

Currently, the government is targeting to increase the share of renewable energy to 35% by 2030 and 50% by 2040.

As of July, the DoE has awarded a total of 73 offshore wind service contracts with an equivalent combined capacity of about 58,531 MW, Mr. Sinocruz said. — Ashley Erika O. Jose