Marcos OKs DOE offshore wind power dev't plans

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

November 9, 2022, 8:00 pm

<p><strong>ENERGY ISSUE.</strong> President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. presides over a meeting with Department of Energy officials at Malacañan Palace in Manila on Wednesday (Nov. 19, 2022). They discussed "immediate and medium-term" plans to improve the energy sector.<em> (Photo courtesy of OP)</em></p>

ENERGY ISSUE. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. presides over a meeting with Department of Energy officials at Malacañan Palace in Manila on Wednesday (Nov. 19, 2022). They discussed "immediate and medium-term" plans to improve the energy sector. (Photo courtesy of OP)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has given his nod to the Department of Energy's plan to explore and develop the country's offshore wind (OSW) potential as a source of clean and sustainable energy, Malacañang announced Wednesday.

This developed, after Marcos presided over a meeting with DOE officials at Malacañan Palace in Manila on Wednesday morning to discuss "immediate and medium-term" plans to improve the energy sector.

"In a meeting at the Malacañan Palace on Wednesday, President Marcos instructed DOE Secretary Raphael P.M. Lotilla and other energy officials to move forward with the agency's offshore wind energy production initiatives," Undersecretary Cheloy Garafil, officer-in-charge of the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS) said in a statement.

Garafil noted that during the meeting, the DOE also made a proposal to create an Offshore Wind Development and Investment Council that will serve as a one-stop shop for OSW developers.

Marcos, Garafil said, backed the proposed creation of the council that will be composed of relevant government agencies, but stressed that the DOE should oversee the regulatory functions to streamline coordination and simplify the approval process.

"It should be the Department of Energy [which] should be talking with the OSW developers, in consultation with the council, of course. It has to be led by the DOE," Marcos, as quoted by the OPS, said.

Bringing down electricity prices

In a media interview while onboard the presidential plane en route to Cambodia, Marcos reiterated his commitment to push for lower rates of electricity.

Marcos said he met with the DOE officials to discuss the “short-term, medium-term, and long-term” energy requirements in the country.

“We spent a long time talking about how to bring down the prices,” he said, noting that the DOE found a way to rationalize power supply.

Marcos also noted that there have been ongoing talks with local cooperatives to discuss how “they can sell power at the cheapest price possible.”

Based on the World Bank's OSW Roadmap, the Philippines has the capacity to deploy 40 Gigawatts of OSW electricity by 2050.

Currently, there are 42 approved offshore wind contracts with an indicated capacity of 31,000 Megawatts (MW), based on the data presented by the DOE to Marcos.

Private sector's 'strong interest'

The DOE also noted the "strong interest" from the private sector, especially from countries considered "leaders in offshore wind technology" such as Denmark, Norway and the United Kingdom.

“This is more than enough to cover the 500,000 MW projected peak demand the country will require by 2040 based on DOE's medium to long-term power outlook,” Lotilla told the President.

Lotilla emphasized that the power that will be generated through OSW projects would be used to help the country meet its energy needs, as well as to produce alternative fuels, such as Green Hydrogen.

Citing the DOE report, Garafil said hydrogen may be converted into ammonia, which is a primary component in the production of industrial fertilizers used in agriculture.

The DOE said hydrogen may be converted into ammonia, which is a primary component in the production of industrial fertilizers used in agriculture.

In 2021, the DOE signed a memorandum of understanding with Australia's Star Scientific Ltd. and Japan's Hydrogen Technology Inc. to explore the potential of hydrogen as a source of energy for the Philippines in the future.

Contingency plans

Garafil said the DOE also presented to Marcos its November 2022 to December 2023 outlook which showed that power reserves in Luzon may fall below ideal levels, given the continued shutdown of the Ilijan Power Plant in Batangas City, which has a total capacity of 1,200 MW.

"As a contingency, the energy department proposes to run the Ilijan Power plant, a dual-fuel power station in Ilijan, Batangas City, using diesel fuel to produce 420 MW, as well as implement the Interruptible Load Program," Garafil said.

Garafil added that the DOE and concerned government agencies are closely coordinating to address the delays in the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines' (NGCP) transmission line projects to free up power capacity for 2023.

She said the DOE would also release "short-term" action plans that will serve as guide of the energy sector for 2022 to 2024, pending the release of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028.

The DOE has also developed the Philippine Energy Plan 2020-2040, a 20-year plan which includes energy sector initiatives and projects that seek to ensure sustainable, stable, secure, adequate, accessible and inexpensive energy.

The 20-year plan is setting a target of 35 percent share of renewable energy in the power generation mix by 2030 and 50 percent share by 2040.

Marcos, in his first State of the Nation Address delivered on July 25, emphasized the need to prioritize clean energy and tap natural gas and nuclear power to meet the Philippines' energy demands. (PNA)


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