Energy Department hopes APEC meeting on Energy could bring in new technologies

LAPU-LAPU CITY, CEBU, Oct. 12—The Department of Energy said on Sunday that it hopes the meeting of APEC energy ministers here could also lead to the country's adoption of new technologies for sufficient power supply and cheaper electricity prices.

For instance, in Cebu, the adoption of new technology is costly to power consumers like in the case of a one-kilometer underground power line financed by the Visayan Electric Company. The cost of investment is passed on to the consumers making energy more expensive.

In a press conference here, Energy Undersecretary Loreta Ayson said the construction of underground power lines is a good option because they are more protected from wind and typhoons acknowledging however that it's a very expensive technology.

The installation of underground power lines is something that the DOE is looking at and she also said there's no assurance of any government subsidy in case this kind of technology is adopted.

"With the APEC ministers around, trade and investments will be promoted and may be this is something that could be worked on and prices of these new technologies could also be discussed," Ayson said.

She added that the goal is to attain cooperation among APEC members for transfer of technology to lower electricity prices.

"That's one reason why we should have APEC because the ministers can discuss it. And the members of APEC are no less than U.S., Russia, and all other economies that have more advanced technologies."

Ayson, who said they have already conducted simulations on the Philippines' energy mix, also discussed DOE's energy plan 20 or 30 years from now.

"We are working in a fuel mix policy for power generation so that we will have a balance of all the fuels that we are using," she said.

The plan is to have one third coal, one third natural gas, and one third renewable energy, she explained noting DOE eyes for fuel diversification.

The DOE is also not discounting the possible use of nuclear energy in the future, considering that nuclear power is cleaner than coal-powered plants as well as plants that use bunker fuel.

But the major hurdle in the Philippines for the adoption of nuclear energy is social acceptability, according to Ayson.

"A lot of people are not really in favor of it," she said. "But we as the Department of Energy is not really discarding it. We're not scrapping it and its always part of our long-term options."

The DOE has done evaluations, studies and information campaign about the use of nuclear power, she said, adding she cannot say with certainty when the country would adopt nuclear energy. (PCOO/PND (as)

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