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Coal to remain big part of energy mix

By: - Reporter / @amyremoINQ
/ 12:11 AM July 05, 2016

Coal-fired power plants are expected to remain the most reliable source of power supply for a developing economy like the Philippines and would not likely be stricken off the country’s energy mix anytime soon.

“Coal-fired (power plants) are the more dependable and more reliable source for baseload power,” newly installed Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi stressed in his first briefing Monday.

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“As a developing country, we can’t afford not to have coal. You have to find that balance—the energy mix cannot all be renewable energy. I’m not against solar and the other RE and I’d like to promote it some other way,” Cusi added.

Cusi’s comments came as he was asked about his position regarding the continued use of coal-fired power plants and the reported moratorium being planned against energy projects deemed to have an adverse effect on the environment.

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According to Cusi, he was prepared to sit down and discuss with Environment Secretary Gina Lopez the need to strike the “right balance” between having adequate, reliable energy supply and a cleaner environment.

According to Cusi, the primary target of the current administration under President Duterte as far as energy was concerned was to eventually bring down the cost of electricity, currently the highest in the region next to Japan, and to make it more accessible to more households across the country.

Among the options being considered to bring down electricity prices included providing certain subsidies and extending the payment terms for the universal charge and spreading  it across a longer period.

As for electricity access, the Duterte administration will also bat for 100 percent household electrification nationwide by the end of its six-year term. At present, household electrification is lowest in Mindanao at 72 percent; 90 percent in Luzon and 92 percent in the Visayas.

Meanwhile, for his first 100 days in his office, Cusi disclosed plans to review all the contracts that the DOE had signed to ensure that stakeholders and project proponents have not been remiss in their contractual obligations.

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