Power investors interested, but shortfall still looms—AlmendrasBy Anselmo Roque
Inquirer Central Luzon
SAN JOSE CITY—As the demand for electricity in Metro Manila increases, at least seven Japanese firms are eyeing investments in the Philippine power sector, Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said.
Despite this piece of good news, Almendras said, Luzon is still facing a supply shortfall by 2015.
“These are certainly pieces of good news. But the bad news for us is that we will have a shortfall in electric supply in Luzon,” he said during the launch of the San Jose City I Power Corp. here on Friday.
He said the huge demand for electricity projected in the country, especially in Metro Manila, needed as many investors as the government could attract to satisfy that demand.
Demand to meet
He did not give details about the Japanese firms, however, that had expressed interest in investing in power generation here.
Almendras at the same time allayed fears about a shortfall in power supply this year.
He said the demand for electricity could still be met adequately until 2014. But, “I am very worried [about the shortfall] in 2015,” he added.
“We will be needing an additional 600 megawatts of electricity in 2015 in Luzon. We should start building facilities for power generation now.”
The Department of Energy, he said, is considering putting up a coal-fired power plant near the mothballed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in Morong, Bataan.
As for Mindanao, Almendras lamented that not many investors in electric power generation had been coming because of the uncertainty of law and order on the island.
He said he hoped that this could be reversed with the government’s efforts to forge peace with Moro rebels.
Almendras, during the opening of the power plant appealed to investors to consider Mindanao, which is experiencing an electricity supply shortage.
“We need investors like you. We need this kind of project which you are putting up here to avert this shortfall in electric power supply,” he said. The San Jose City I Power Corp. was put up by 21 rice millers here and other businessmen in cooperation with a private investor to generate 9.9 megawatts of electricity using a rice hull-powered power plant. The group pooled P1 billion in capital for the project. “Your example here is a good model. You are a group of diverse people and you invested a big sum of money for power generation. I hope we can invite many more like you to invest in power generation to help solve our impending problem,” Almendras said.
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