PHILIPPINES: Groups campaigning for energy sector changes urged President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to pick the country’s next energy secretary with prudence.
The Institute for Power Sector Economics (IPSEC), based in Mindanao, said on Thursday, June 16, that the next Secretary of Energy should be able to steer the country toward renewable energy dependency in the future years.
IPSEC director Dave Tauli stated, “Anyone should be better than outgoing Secretary (Alfonso) Cusi.”
Tauli, a former vice president for engineering at Cepalco, said Cusi’s DOE has been so unsuccessful in promoting renewable energy in the Philippines that it makes no difference who is nominated as DOE secretary.
Tauli added that they believe that the next DOE head would enable Mindanao to source all of its electrical needs from renewable energy power facilities by 2030.
He claims that coal-fired power facilities provide 80 percent of Mindanao‘s electricity.
In 2021, electricity generated by coal-fired power stations accounted for 47.6% of the country’s total energy mix. Other fossils accounted for 18%, whereas gas accounted for 10.7%.
The government announced the National Renewable Energy Plan 2011, an ambitious five-step plan to generate 15.3 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030 and more than 20 gigawatts by 2040, after Congress enacted the renewable energy law in 2008.
The Power for People Coalition (P4P), an advocacy group for power consumers, expressed anticipation that the incoming Marcos administration will prioritize the development and utilization of renewable energy sources.
Gerry Arances, the P4P convenor, said that the outgoing Duterte administration, through the policies of DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi, chose to embrace dependence on imported fossil gas in the coming years instead of tapping locally abundant renewable energy sources like solar and wind, to the detriment of consumers.
According to the group, Marcos should appoint an energy secretary who has a track record of fighting vested interests to advance renewable energy objectives.
P4P made the statement despite the fact that the country, like others in Southeast Asia, has continued to embrace the use of fossil gas in its transition away from coal.
According to Arances, Russia’s war in Ukraine has exacerbated growing fuel prices, resulting in inflation and shortages, highlighting the dangers of relying too heavily on fossil fuels.
The next administration, according to Efeminita Taqueban, executive director of the Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center-Friends of Earth, should recognize the urgency of moving away from dirty energy while ensuring that the transition is done in a just and respectful manner, respecting people’s rights to meaningful development and a healthy environment.