Reliability a top agenda


In the post-pandemic era, the world has suddenly become aware of a catastrophe hammering humanity “like a thief in the night.”

In terms of energy security, the country needs a source of fuel that will not be affected by external factors such as a source country suddenly deciding to withhold supply such as what recently happened to coal from Indonesia.

The recent development of tycoon Enrique Razon’s Prime Infra Holdings taking over control of the Malampaya natural gas project provides hope that the indigenous source of power will continue.

The natural gas field is expected to be depleted by 2017 if there would be no exploration undertaken to develop a new well.

Studies conducted recently, however, indicated that the surrounding areas of the well still have recoverable deposits.

Nearly 30 percent of the energy requirement of Luzon is supplied by electricity sourced from power plants fueled by natural gas from the Malampaya field.

Then there’s the push for nuclear energy which if politics did not intervene would already be benefitting the country.

Energy Secretary Al Cusi, in an interview with Daily Tribune’s morning program Gising Na!, said the current energy mix makes the country vulnerable to erratic fuel supply.

Renewable energy offers promises but the technology has not reached a point to ensure reliability

Even developed nations such as Germany may have to revert to coal and nuclear power since wind energy that the country is trying to develop as a major source of electricity is highly dependent on the quirks of nature.

“Countries really need reliability, particularly among those which are net importers of fuel. “Just imagine a serious event happened, and the fuel supply stops for whatever reason, what will we do?” Cusi asked.

The energy chief said nuclear technology offers a good option to remove uncertainties because of the long interval between refueling.

“The volume of fuel is also easy to transport,” according to Cusi. “While the country aggressively looks at renewable energy sources, we can push for nuclear energy since it is also a source of clean energy.”

Dominant electricity distributor Manila Electric Company (Meralco) has said it will definitely source electricity from the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) if the government decides to revive it.

Meralco president and CEO Ray Espinosa told the company’s stockholders during their annual meeting that the power firm “will favorably consider contracting reasonably and competitively priced supply from the generation companies, including the BNPP, if the same becomes operational.”

Meralco’s intent will entice more capitalists to consider the profitability of reactivating the nuclear plant in Morong, Bataan which was mothballed 36 years ago largely due to a heated political conflict at the time.

Even reactivating the BNPP will take time. During a visit, the International Atomic Energy Agency estimated that from $1 billion to $2 billion or up to P100 billion will be needed to reboot BNPP and the project will take at least seven years.

Considering the speed at which the economy is growing, the country needs a reliable fuel source. Indigenous natural gas and nuclear technology are the country’s best bet for energy security.

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