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Philippines allows 100% foreign ownership in large-scale geothermal projects —Cusi

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi on Tuesday confirmed that the Philippines now allows 100% foreign ownership in large-scale geothermal exploration, development, and utilization projects.

This was announced by Cusi during his recorded speech for the Second Global Ministerial Conference on System Integration of Renewables, which was held as part of the Singapore International Energy Week 2020.

The Energy chief said he has already signed on October 20, a Department Circular providing the guidelines for the third Open and Competitive Selection Process (OCSP3) in the awarding of Renewable Energy (RE) Service Contracts.

“From an investment perspective, OCSP3 allows for 100% foreign ownership in large-scale geothermal exploration, development, and utilization projects,” he said.

The Department of Energy (DOE) defines large-scale geothermal projects as those with an initial investment cost of about $50-million capitalization through Financial and Technical Assistance Agreements (FTAAs).

FTAAs could be entered into between foreign contractors and the Philippine government for the large-scale exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources, and are signed by the President.

Likewise, the Energy chief also announced that the DOE has imposed a moratorium on endorsements for “greenfield” or proposed coal power plants.

Cusi today said the periodic assessment of the country’s energy requirements has led to the moratorium.

He said that the DOE’s recent assessment revealed the need for the country to shift to a more flexible power supply mix.

“As the Philippine Department of Energy re-evaluates the appropriateness of our current energy mix vis-a-vis our energy goals, I am optimistic that this would lead to more opportunities for RE to figure prominently in our country's energy future,” he said.

“This would help build a more sustainable power system that will be resilient in the face of structural changes in demand and will be flexible enough to accommodate the entry of new, cleaner, and indigenous technological innovations,” he added.

As of 2019, the Philippines still had the highest RE share in the total primary energy supply from among countries within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region, according to the Energy chief.

“Despite this, I am determined to accelerate the development of our country's indigenous resources. We are also pushing for the transition from fossil fuel-based technology utilization to cleaner energy sources to ensure more sustainable growth for the country,” Cusi said.

He said the moratorium on the endorsements for greenfield coal power plants and the opening up of the country’s geothermal sector to greater foreign investments will further brighten the prospects of the country’s Renewable Energy (RE) landscape.

The virtual ministerial conference in Singapore was organized by the Energy Market Authority, the International Energy Agency, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore for the 13th Singapore International Energy Week. — BM, GMA News