Nope, this isn’t a post about Star Wars. This instead is my Wishlist for the Philippine Energy Sector as we start a new year.
First, I hope and pray that our government takes a closer look at the long-term power needs. Our officials should work hard on ensuring the following:
Energy security- Energy security can be achieved by developing indigenous and sustainable energy. Unfortunately, the Philippines continues its reliance on traditional sources of power. For 2018, coal accounted for more than half our power source. We are also no longer the second largest producer of geothermal energy as our neighbor, Indonesia is already producing more.
Resiliency- Many of our countrymen are starting 2020 without electricity after Typhoon Ursula devastated their areas. It’s a sad thought that families affected by the typhoon are left in darkness. Hopefully, this year, our government will push for the development of microgrids for the country’s energy resilience. Microgrids, after all, will allow any devastated area to recover quickly as power restoration becomes easier.
Introduction of reforms in the power supply contracting- Time and time again, players in the energy sector complain of the tedious process in power supply contracting. Hopefully, the process can be simplified soon. More importantly, our government officials also require fixed-price contracts in our energy portfolio.
As I have been saying, “floating” PSAs where foreign exchange and global price fluctuation are passed on to consumers should slowly be phased out. Introducing fixed-price contracts peg the price consumers have to pay at a fixed rate for a number of years, resulting in more savings for the Filipinos
Second, the power distribution industry should now work to offer more choices at the customer level. Our power distributors must appreciate the convergence of Information and Communication Technology and the power sector given that around the world, Information Technology is changing the energy sector.
Power distributors should then work on introducing more smart grids in their networks. Smart girds empower consumers by providing them with information that can, among others save money, and purchase electricity directly from retail suppliers.
Along with the development of smart grids, we should also encourage embedded generation such as rooftop solar power along with its use in microgrids.
Third, may our government start planning for resiliency programs seriously. We have to keep in mind that the Philippines will always be at risk of being hit by devastating natural disasters like earthquakes and typhoons. Let’s just look at the recent typhoons, Tisoy and Ursula that affected some provinces badly.
It is time for our government through the Local Government Units (LGUs) with the help of Congress to invest in underground conduits capable of carrying power and telecommunication cables. Investing in such will ensure both internet and power supply despite catastrophic events.
The government can increase its investments on research and development to address power resiliency issues and the use of big data and technology in increasing resiliency. Perhaps the UP Resiliency Institute can help in this endeavour.
Every new year brings new hope. And the start of 2020 is no different. May both the public and private sectors along with the rest of Filipinos work together in making the energy sector a better one. A sector that safeguards the welfare and provides more choices to Filipino consumers.
Happy New Year, everyone!