Gatchalian says Cusi’s energy security plan is flawed: Oil, coal to grow 4x more than renewables in 22 years
Senator Win Gatchalian has criticized the Department of Energy (DOE) led by Secretary Al Cusi for failing to include energy security in its Philippine Energy Plan.
During the recent hearing of the Senate Committee on Energy regarding the country’s energy security, Gatchalian said the DOE has failed to articulate energy security in its Philippine Energy Plan (PEP) 2017-2044 even though this was supposed to be its number one priority. “If you look at the projections, we will not achieve any security, any sufficiency,” Gatchalian, chairman of the committee, said.
Gatchalian said data from the DOE showed that the Philippines remains heavily dependent on external sources for its petroleum supplies, importing 94 percent of its oil requirements.
The DOE recently reported that the country’s total import bill jumped to $9.89 billion in 2017, a 31.2 percent increase from the $7.54 billion import bill in 2016.
The DOE, on the other hand, paints a grim picture for the renewable energy sector as the share of fossil fuels in the country’s energy mix continues to grow. The DOE expects the share of renewables in the energy mix – including geothermal, biomass, and hydro – to drop to 17 percent in 2040 from 36 percent in 2017.
Gatchalian said this showed that the installed renewable energy capacity would grow at a dismal pace of 1.5 percent over the 24 years, in contrast to the 6.5 percent and 6.7 percent growth rates of installed capacity of oil and coal plants, respectively.
“So with these growth figures, I don’t think we will reach any security by 2040 or any sufficiency for 2040… by that alone, it raises a lot of question marks whether we’re putting all our eggs in one basket,” Gatchalian said.
“In my view, energy security should be a paramount concern of our nation. I think the reason for that really is to insulate consumers from price volatility. It also has an effect on our economic well-being by importing less,” he added.
Gatchalian said DOE’s lack of vision on energy security was evident the country’s poor performance in the World Economic Council (WEC) Energy Trilemma Index, which ranks the performance of each country based on energy security, energy equity, and environmental sustainability.
In 2018, the Philippines ranked 74 out of 125 countries, down from its 70th place ranking in 2017, after garnering “C” ratings for energy security and energy equity, and an “A” rating for environmental sustainability. Out of 22 Asian countries, the country ranked 11th.