Philippine energy sector urged to relax foreign ownership rules

November 12, 2017 4:00 PM

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MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine energy sector must change its foreign ownership policies to attract more renewable energy investments into the country, according to a global energy group.

“The Philippine market is interesting, but there’s some changes that have to be made in terms of the 60 percent (ownership policy), “Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) global ambassador Eddie O’Connor told reporters.

Foreign companies that extract natural resources in the country are only allowed to own 40 percent of the business, O’Connor said.

“We’re not extracting natural resources, we’re making use of them. It’s not like you’re taking our coal or tin or uranium or something like that,” O’Connor said.

He added once foreign investors build renewable energy plants in the Philippines, this would continue to supply electricity for the country, which cannot be transferred out of the country.

“When you build a renewable energy plant, that belongs to the Philippines. You can never move that. It’s too big. It’s just here and it will be supplying electricity forever,” the GWEC global ambassador said.

O’Connor said having foreign companies build renewable energy power plants in the country would help the Philippines increase its electricity supply, which remains a big challenge for the country.

The Department of Energy (DOE) is targeting to reach total household electrification of the Philippines by 2022.

The DOE earlier announced it is seeking a budget of nearly P1 billion in 2018 to accelerate its electrification projects, in line with the 2022 target.

Of the proposed P2.659 billion next year, P895 million will be for its electrification programs, with P271 million allocated to household electrification program in off-grid using renewable energy, while P624 million will be for nationwide intensification of household electrification.

Latest data from the DOE show renewable energy accounts for 32.5 percent of installed power plants in the country, with a capacity of 7,038 megawatts (MW).

This is second to coal which comprise of 35 percent of the installed power plants in the country with a capacity of 7,569 MW.

Source: philstar.com

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