Power development policy should stand on ‘3 legs’

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Friday, August 8, 2014


A SUCCESSFUL power development plan must rest on three solid and equally important legs so it will not collapse, said David Tan, convenor of the Matuwid na Singil sa Kuryente Consumer Alliance Inc. (MSK).

“In an ideal world all three legs must be equally pursued for a holistic and sustainable power generation mix,” Tan said in a position paper. “If only one becomes primordial, the other two is sacrificed and it hurts the interest of the consumers and the country.”

The first leg, he said, is sufficient power supply to meet the growing needs of the population and the robust economy.

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This, he said, requires that the government encourage the construction of new power plants and the expansion and upgrade of existing facilities.

Specifically, he urged the authorities to “provide an approval and permitting process” that will facilitate the entry of additional power facilities, with the Department of Energy (DOE) providing the policy direction on the energy mix and the locations for power development.

In addition, the Board of Investments “must incentivize” new plant projects in the country.

The second leg is “lowest cost power.” He said reducing power cost is possible through encouraging competition and an energy mix that uses available lower-cost energy resources.

He cited the case of Mindanao, where lowest-cost considerations should lead to the rehabilitation of the Agus power plant, to be complemented with low-capacity-cost diesel plants and coal power plants.

“The only way consumers would have a chance at least cost power is if these power supply contracts are subjected to a truly competitive bidding process,” Tan further stated.

The third leg is environment-friendly power. “The private generators specially the D-G [distributor-generator] Groups cannot be expected to put a high priority on environmentally friendly power or making environment an equal consideration in developing new projects. They want surer power, less risk, and maximized profits. That is just in the nature of ‘free enterprise,’” said Tan. (Philexport)

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 09, 2014.

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