Cusi sees ‘tight race’ for power investments

Published February 9, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Myrna M. Velasco

With the specter of extreme tight electricity supply plaguing anew these summer months, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi admitted his department is now on a “tight race” on cornering targeted billions of dollars of new power investments.

The energy chief is not only in competition with time in ensuring that those much-needed investments will come – given that he has just more than two years left on his tenure at the Department of Energy (DOE); but the country will also be wrestling with the rest of the Southeast Asian region in enticing new power projects.

At the AGI Sustainability Conference, Cusi stressed that “in such a tight race against time and development, concerted efforts to drive continued innovation in the energy sector is of utmost importance.”

He reiterated that the country’s energy needs by 2040, “would increase by over ten-fold, as we will be needing an additional power capacity of 43,765 megawatts.”

When he started his stint at the DOE in 2016, he promised of up to 10,000MW of power project developments being advanced as “committed” ventures and shall be starting construction phases toward the end of the Duterte administration in 2022.

Of that power investment pledge, the current DOE leadership accomplished very little at this point – with only 600MW of remaining capacity additions in the roll of committed capacities, as the rest of developments started by his predecessors are now part of the country’s power supply.

And given the 4-5 gestation period for power projects – primarily those of reliable baseload scale, the department is now manifestly racing against a very rigid timeframe.

Cusi’s remaining term is expected to be devoted cornering the committed power capacities, to guarantee that the legacy of the Duterte administration is not shoving the country into another round of power crisis.