Higher energy price ‘not the issue’

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014


A RENOWNED Filipino scientist on Wednesday encouraged consumers to consider reviewing how they look at the issue on rising energy costs.

Speaking at the CHED Research Conference at Grand Regal Hotel yesterday, National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) President Dr. William Padolina said that while energy cost is a critical part of the nation's survival, it should not hinder the country's economic progress.

"We are reputedly one of the more expensive places with regard to energy, but sometimes I wonder whether we are just using [the price of energy] as a scapegoat because there are countries where the energy cost is higher," Padolina said.

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Padolina, who has also served as Department of Science and Technology (DOST) secretary from 1995-1999, cited Japan as an example of a country with more expensive energy costs than the Philippines.

"Did Japan complain [about their energy cost]? No, and instead, they're using it to their advantage by producing higher value-added products," he said, adding that the country should move to that level.

Asked about the issue of energy sources, Padolina said "the more self-reliant we are, the more indigenous sources we have, the better."

"We should have a generation mix of hydro, coal, petroleum-based, solar, wind, etc., as the economies will allow-we should probably even think of nuclear," he said, adding that with enough research, the risks of each can be managed and can be operated safely and at standards to ensure the environment remains clean and habitable.

Based on Department of Energy (DOE) data, renewable energy sources constitute 11.8 percent of approved power plants, while coal constitutes 82.8 percent nationwide.

"The ideal generation mix is going to be influenced by a lot of factors like cost, accessibility and availability," Padolina said.

He said there isn't enough research being done in these areas, and both government and the private sector need to invest more in research and science.

"We need better support for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), more private sector investment in research and development (R&D) because we can't just depend on government, and we need to make sure we are able to retain the highly trained manpower to get for our R&D workforce and the workforce in general," he said. (Brent Harvey S. Jimenez, AdDU Intern)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 07, 2014.

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