By MYRNA M. VELASCO
With the promotion of clean energy options for economic zones, Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi indicated that he will pit liquefied natural gas (LNG) with geothermal power depending on the cost feasibility that each technology could present to end-users in these domains.
He said the current program being explored by the Department of Energy (DOE) is to utilize geothermal for ecozones, especially in industrial areas where these generating facilities are sited in proximity with each other.
“I’m going to really look at it and compare it with the program I’m pushing for the development of ecozones around the geothermal area,” the energy chief said.
He emphasized that there is a strong preference of many end-users, primarily the manufacturing sector, to advocate for clean energy use and that is the main anchor for that program.
What appears as an advantage for geothermal at this point, he said, is that the steam from the plant could also be used for other purposes, such as in the production of plywood. Cusi said he will explore the expanded use of gas in the Philippines, given the thrust of the government on inviting new investments for LNG handling facilities in the energy sector.
The energy chief ties in his proposal for LNG use in ecozones following the launching of the Gas Policy Development Program’s (GPDP) investors’ guidebook that was turned over this week to the DOE by the University of the Philippines Statistical Center Research Foundation, Inc.
Beyond the needs of the power sector, there had been previous studies to promote the use of gas among industrial parks and zones in the country – and the conclusion had been for these end-users potentially generating savings for targeted shift in fuel use.
In the last study that was undertaken 10 years ago, it was established that if change will be with imported LNG, the cost per kilowatt hour (kWh) for their energy use will be comparatively lower compared to having diesel or bunker-C fired plan to power their manufacturing facilities.
The country is among those in the Southeast Asian region that has been encountering difficulty in enticing manufacturing investors to relocate because one of the most common complaints being raised is on the high cost of power.
Energy officials endlessly explored solutions to that dilemma, but until now, there had not been successful experiment yet that could really address that kind of tedious concern of the investors.