MANILA – The Department of Energy (DOE) is seeking a P2.15-billion budget for next year, bulk of which will be used to revamp geothermal development.
In a Senate hearing Tuesday on his agency's spending proposal for 2021, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said they would scale up exploratory research on geothermal energy to boost power supply and attract potential investors.
“This is an expensive undertaking. We are giving priority to the development of geothermal as a priority renewable source of energy,” he said.
“Us doing already the exploratory work on data, investors will be properly guided.”
The energy chief said the Philippines used to be the top producer of geothermal energy, which is heat generated within the Earth.
“Pagkatapos ng ating success, tumigil po tayo. This is a real good source of stable power. Gusto natin ma-tap ‘yan,” he said.
(After our success, we stopped. This is a real good source of stable power. We want to tap into this.)
Geothermal accounts for 15.4 percent of the country’s total primary energy supply, data from DOE as of 2019 showed.
Oil ranked first with 32.2 percent, followed by coal with 29.2 percent, other renewable energy sources at 13.8 percent, natural gas at 6.1 percent and hydro at 3.3 percent.
As of December 2019, there are 23.22 million households or 92.96 percent that are connected to electricity suppliers in the country.
Electrification level in Luzon was pegged at 97.78 percent, the Visayas at 93.88 percent while Mindanao at 79.99 percent.
To ensure energy security in the country, more than a dozen projects are in the pipeline, which include the Mindanao 230kV backbone and Cebu-Negros-Panay 230kV backbone.
The DOE earlier requested a 2021 budget of P2.6 billion, but the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) only approved P2.15 billion. This is 8.8 percent lower than 2020’s budget of P2.34 billion.