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Monday, May 20, 2024

DOE taps new technologies to augment PH power supply

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The Department of Energy is supporting new and emerging technologies to augment the country’s power supply and support a cleaner and more efficient transport system.

It identified these technologies as small nuclear reactors, liquefied natural gas, battery energy storage systems, hydrogen and ammonia, electric vehicles as well as energy efficiency and conservation projects.

Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla expressed hope these technologies would “mature in time.”

The DOE is pursuing SMRs or advanced nuclear reactors that have a third of the generating capacity of traditional nuclear power reactors.  Lotilla said the Philippines may have a nuclear facility up and running “within the decade.”

“Within the decade, I am sure that we can be on, or we can place ourselves on track for that,” he said.

Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla

The DOE is looking at an initial 2,400 megawatts of nuclear capacity by 2035 under the Philippine Energy Plan 2023 to 2050.  Eight units of 150-MW small modular reactors are expected to be in place by 2032 and an additional 1,200 MW of nuclear capacity by 2035.

The agency is also pursuing LNG as “bridge fuel” as the country transitions to cleaner sources of energy. Seven companies are putting up LNG terminals around the country, including four that already secured permits to construct.

These include FGen LNG Corp.’s interim floating storage regasification unit with a capacity of 5.26 million tons per annum that will be completed by September 2023; Linseed Field Corp.’s 3 MPTA terminal which was completed in May 2023; Luzon LNG Terminal Inc.’s 4.4 MPTA terminal for completion by December 2025; and Energy World Corp.’s 3 MPTA terminal with target completion of December 2023.

Three companies were issued notice to proceed: Samat LNG Corp.’s 0.34 MTPA small scale LNG terminal with target completion of 2024 to 2026; Vires Energy’s 3 MPTA FSRU by April 2026; and Shell Energy Philippines 3 MPTA FSRU by September 2025.

Energy storage

The DOE is also supporting the rollout of BESS to support the growth of the RE industry and ensure the stability of the power grid.  About 2,084 MW of BESS capacity is expected to be completed from 2023 to 2025. These include 780 MW that would be operational in 2023, 784 MW in 2024 and 520 MW in 2025.

It also aims to roll out 2,454,200 electric vehicles, comprising of cars, tricycles, motorcycles and buses and install 65,000 EV charging stations nationwide from 2023 to 2028.

The DOE is pushing for additional 1,851,500 EVs and 42,000 EVCs in the medium-term from 2029 to 2034.

Under the long-term period, from 2034 to 2040, about 2,001,600 EVs will be added along with 40,000 EVCs.

“These actions are consistent with EVIDA’s [Electric Vehicle  Industry Act] thrust of creating an enabling environment for the development of the EV industry in the country,” the DOE said.

Lotilla said the DOE is also developing a policy framework and guidelines for the integration of hydrogen within the energy sector.  The agency is actively considering hydrogen and its derivatives as a promising and cleaner alternative energy.

He said that due to the ongoing interest in the co-firing of ammonia with existing coal-fired power plants, the DOE forged a partnership with the Department of Science and Technology for the establishment of a fuel cell research and development and testing facility.

“Developments in technology are moving fast and I hope they move faster so there are now proposals, for example, converting the old coal-fired power plants into not just co-firing with ammonia, but this is still being discussed, But the new technologies in the US can use coal-fired facilities to produce graphene and then with hydrogen as a by-product,” Lotilla said.

He said an equally important aspect of the energy program is the effective implementation of energy efficiency and conservation measures to bring down overall energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and intensity in the production of goods and services.

“This is not just simply a gut feel reaction to the high prices in fuel, but the direction that we must take as a society. Sustainable development goals require a change in lifestyle, and it requires a change in consumption patterns. These are the things that we need to undertake in order for our energy programs to succeed,” he said.

The agency described EE&C measures as the “best energy-saving device” and the consumer’s first line of defense.


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