PILILIA, Rizal – Congressional Energy Committee chairman and Pampanga 2nd district Representative Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo has echoed the call of president-elect Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to focus on renewable energy as a cornerstone of the country’s energy reform agenda for the next six years.
Arroyo mentioned that the energy requirements of the Philippines aim to be supplied by 23 percent renewable energy by 2025. However, based on current energy and power statistics, 34 percent of energy requirements are now supplied by such projects as the Pililia Wind Farms and other renewable energy sources like solar, geothermal, hydropower, biomass as well as green energy.
“It is my wish that one day soon, the country can be powered 100% by green energy sources,” Arroyo exclaimed. “The 34-percent is actually more than our target for the next three years, so there truly is hope for my dream.”
However, Arroyo further explained that there is a pressing need to decrease electricity costs in the Philippines, very much what president-elect Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. has mentioned in past statements.
“The clamor of our countrymen for lower electricity prices has not fallen on deaf ears, which is why despite our support for 100% renewable energy sources in the Philippines, the realities point to our need to consider alternatives at this point,” Arroyo said.
He said that in the quest for energy security and resiliency, the country may have to embark on a Drill-Drill-Drill program to explore indigenous resources not only in the West Philippine Sea but also in sedentary basins that are potential sources for hydrocarbons. The House Energy Committee Chair stressed the need for further exploration of our resources, especially gas and oil to limit our dependency on importation.
On the topic of nuclear technology which has been mentioned again quite recently in relation to discussions about the Bataan Nuclear Powerplant, Arroyo said, ”In August of 2016, if I am not mistaken, an international conference was held in the Philippines and floated the possibility of nuclear energy to be included into our energy mix policy through the rehabilitation of the Bataan plant.”
Arroyo made mention of this to correct the impression that the design of the much talked about Bataan Nuclear Powerplant was faulty. Arroyo revealed that four power plants of the same design continue to run to this day—Busan in South Korea, Brazil, Albania and Slovenia. In fact, the one in Slovenia has been upgraded to last another two decades recently.
He further explained that nuclear technology has grown leaps and bounds for the past decades and with help from experts, including our very own Philippine Nuclear Research Institute, (PNRI) we can open discussions on the possibility even considering what to do with nuclear waste and byproducts of upgrading and operating the plant.
“The PNRI has been at the forefront of study in this field, they have even assessed and have come out with recommendations especially on the safe handling of nuclear waste material,” Arroyo added.
Despite these discussions, Arroyo remains steadfast in his belief and his main agenda that there continues to be a need to do extraordinary cuts in the use of fossil fuels to meet emission targets and that entails a dramatic shift toward sustainable renewable energy to mitigate the impact of climate change on the environment and economy in the near future.