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Coal-fired power plants are acceptable to DOE

The Department of Energy (DOE) is open to the use of coal-fired power plants as the main sources of base load energy, a position that runs contrary to the pronouncements of the newly-appointed chief of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“Coal is the more dependable, the more reliable source for base load... We lack a capacity for a dependable power. We cannot just discount coal,” newly-appointed Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi told reporters in Taguig City on Monday.

“As a developing country we cannot afford to not have coal. Balance, hindi naman pwedeng lahat renewable,” he said.

Still, Cusi pointed out that the country will push for renewable sources of energy but striking a “happy balance” between coal and renewable sources of energy.

The DOE chief's position, however, runs contrary to the pronouncements DENR Secretary Regina Paz “Gina” Lopez – a staunch anti-mining advocate – who slammed the coal industry in the Philippines.

“While China has closed all their coal plants – well about a hundred – and America closed all of theirs, we come up with 118 permits? I mean, what’s that all about?” she said.

Find that solution

Asked for his thoughts on this, Cusi said he has to discuss with Lopez the possible steps to take in terms of the energy sector.

“’Di naman kailangan i-defend. We have to help one another find that solution. I’m sure Ms. Gina Lopez is open,” he said.

Prior to his stint as DOE secretary, Cusi served as director to the shipping business of the Aboitiz family from 1972 to 1990. Among the other business ventures of the Aboitiz family is the Aboitiz Power Corp. which has interests in both renewable and non-renewable power generation facilities.

“Let’s put it his way. I have been out of Aboitiz since 1990... Aboitiz (has) nothing to do with what I’m doing now,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Lopez-owned companies include Energy Development Corp. which owns geothermal, wind, and solar power facilities; First Gen Corp. which owns natural gas plants; First Philippine Holdings Corp. (FPH) which controls First Gen; and Lopez Holdings Inc., the parent company of FPH.

“We have to work together to find that solution... Solution to adequate energy supply,” Cusi said. – VDS, GMA News