WITH the increasing demand for energy, especially in the Visayas, now is a good time for stakeholders to pour in more investments to the sector, the Department of Energy (DOE) said.

DOE Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said during the Energy Investment Forum held yesterday at the Parklane Hotel that the demand will spur the private sector to “continue to invest in exploration, development and production.”

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Almendras said power demand in the Visayas is growing annually by 5.4 percent and as the economy grows, electricity consumption also increases.

Visayas can supply 1,505 megawatts (mw) of power with peak demand at 1,430mw.

With power projects set for completion next year in the region, Almendras is positive that Cebu will be abundant in electricity supply until 2015.

Sources

These power projects have been committed to be installed as early as 2010 in Cebu, Iloilo, Panay Island and Negros Oriental by the Cebu Energy Development Corp. (CEDC), Kepco SPC Power Corp., Green Power Panay, Energy Development Corp. and DMCI Concepcion Power Corp.

A total of 753.5mw will be installed by the companies utilizing coal plants and various renewable energy sources. Another 186mw to be sourced from renewable energy have been proposed by various energy companies.

Almendras said that while these supplies could last until 2015, the region will need more energy sources by 2016.

“To have a continuous supply of more than enough electricity, plans or ground-breakings for new base load plans should already be set later next year,” he said.

Almendras spoke yesterday in front of more than a hundred delegates from energy project developers, electric cooperatives, distribution utilities, power generators, local government units, non-governmental organizations and key energy sector players in the region.

The 2nd Energy Investment Forum was initiated by the DOE to entice individuals or businesses to participate in the energy business.

Among those who spoke yesterday were Jesus Tamang, director of the energy policy and planning bureau of the DOE; Mario R. Pangilinan, head of corporate planning and communications of the Philippine Electric Market Corp.; Sohail Hasnie, principal energy specialist for Southeast Asia for Asian Development Bank; Francisco Sebastian, president of First Metro Investment Corp.; Marissa Cerezo of the renewable energy management bureau of the DOE; and Jesus N. Alcordo, CEDC president.

Almendras assured those in the energy sector of a business environment that will encourage energy investments.