Creation of Nuclear Energy Office under DOE pushed
by Philippine Resources - March 08, 2023
Photo: Bataan nuclear power plant - Credit: Veejay Villafranca/Bloomberg
The House Special Committee on Nuclear Energy on Tuesday adopted a resolution calling on the Department of Energy (DOE) to create a Nuclear Energy Division within its organization.
During the hearing, the panel, chaired by Pangasinan Representative Mark Cojuangco, adopted House Resolution 387, which is in line with the Marcos administration's push to incorporate nuclear power in the Philippines' energy mix.
APEC Party-list Rep. Sergio Dagooc, one of the authors of HR 387, said the DOE does not currently have an office dedicated to dealing with nuclear energy-related issues.
Dagooc said the new division within DOE should be in-charge of developing the framework of the nation in utilizing and managing nuclear energy in the country.
The proposed division, he said, should also further advance the plans to utilize nuclear energy to combat the rising prices and the lack of supply of electricity in the country.
"Seriously exploring nuclear energy as an additional source for the generation of electricity may solve the above cited problems," he said.
He said the DOE should also work with the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) and other concerned government agencies to establish and implement a strategic plan and policies for the utilization of nuclear energy as a source of generating electricity in the country.
In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said it was “time to re-examine” the country’s strategy toward building nuclear power plants in the Philippines.
“We must build new power plants. We must take advantage of all the best technology that is now available, especially in the areas of renewable energy,” Marcos said.
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Philippine Resources - May 26, 2022
Legal framework needed for gov’t to invest in nuclear power plant
Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Gerardo Erguiza Jr. said there is a need to amend the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) to enable the government to invest in nuclear power plants. This, as the incoming administration has expressed its support in considering a nuclear power plant to be part of the country’s energy mix. “As of now, the government does not have the ability to put up conventional nuclear power plant because the National Power Corp. does not have mandate on this,” Erguiza said in Filipino during the Laging Handa public briefing Wednesday. With the privatization of the power sector under the EPIRA, the government could not enter into power generation. “But we can align together, with the drafting or putting up of the regulatory framework, we can amend our laws to include the government among those that can fund a nuclear power plant,” he added. Erguiza said that based on studies of the Korean Hydro Nuclear Power Company of South Korea and ROSATOM of Russia, they have found out that the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) can still be rehabilitated. According to ROSATOM, an investment of around USD3 billion to USD4 billion is needed to revive the BNPP. Presumptive President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. earlier mentioned that part of his energy agenda is to revive the BNPP to become an additional source of clean and cheap power. On the other hand, Erguiza said the government can invest in power generation using small modular reactors, the latest nuclear energy technology, in missionary areas that are not connected to the grid.
Philippine Resources - July 28, 2022
France keen to help PH develop nuclear energy
Photo credit: Embassy of France to the Philippines and Micronesia - French Ambassador Michèle Boccoz The French government is keen to help the Philippines develop its nuclear power program as the Marcos administration looks for other reliable sources of energy. French Ambassador Michèle Boccoz said the embassy has met with some of the Cabinet members and nuclear power was listed among the key areas Paris and Manila could cooperate on. "(T)here's obviously an interest. As I said, we have an experience and expertise in many different sectors of renewable energy, including the nuclear sector," Boccoz said at a reception in Makati City on Tuesday. She said working on small modular reactors is "probably much more realistic" than reviving the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. "I think that this is a thing of the past because the technologies have evolved so much that it wouldn't really make sense to work to build this kind of project and it's probably too big and it probably needs too much of the grid to be operational," she added. "So having a sort of more modular systems is probably much more realistic and also in terms of the terrain here and the systemic risks and others. These are much smaller units that can be much more easily protected." Boccoz, meanwhile, clarified that talks are still in the "very early stages" as Manila has to put in place a framework first. In his first State of the Nation Address on July 25, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. sought to re-examine the country's strategy towards building nuclear power plants in the Philippines. "We will comply of course with the International Atomic Energy Agency regulations for nuclear power plants as they have been strengthened after Fukushima. In the area of nuclear power, there have been new technologies developed that allow smaller-scale modular nuclear plants and other derivations thereof," he said. "Once again, PPPs (public-private partnerships) will play a part in support as funding in this period is limited." France generates about 70 percent of its electricity from nuclear power plants but plans to reduce this to 50 percent by 2035 as its shifts to more renewables, such as solar and wind. Besides nuclear, Boccoz said, France is also beginning to have discussions on hydrogen and other renewable energy sources with the new administration. By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency
Philippine Resources - May 02, 2022
Pursue nuclear energy to avert crisis: solon
Photo credit: The chair of the House Ways and Means Committee on Saturday stressed the need for the country to move towards nuclear energy generation amid "thinning power reserves" as baseload coal power plants continue to experience shutdowns. Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said there is no fuel cleaner than nuclear, which is also a more stable energy source run by a predictable fuel supply. Salceda said President Rodrigo Duterte is on the right path with the issuance of Executive Order 164, which aims to introduce nuclear energy into the country's energy mix, as this will address the high electricity rate and secure energy for the future. "And I can think of the ways we can complement that with good policy,” Salceda told reporters in a Viber message, as he proposed the franchise approach to nuclear energy. "I don’t want government spending money on it, given our fiscal issues. But we can collate a fiscal incentive package under the CREATE (Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises) Law for a nuclear power investor. That will probably exceed the USD 1 billion threshold under that law, anyway,” he added. He described coal as the "dinosaur" of energy generation, given that it is cheap, simple, easy, but also outdated. Salceda added that coal power plants are "not exactly in top shape", adding that they are not following the Grid Operating and Maintenance Program (GOMP) procedures of the Department of Energy. "Over the past 30 days, half of our baseload plants have experienced shutdowns. When demand peaks, you’re going to get more of that. So, I’m definitely seeing a real possibility of rotating brownouts by May or June,” Salceda said. Salceda presented a “five-point plan” to combat an energy crisis, which included routine maintenance checks of the country’s power plants. He warned that “maintenance issues” could be a way for some generation firms to jack up prices. “Honestly, it’s getting frustrating. Like speaking to a wall. We already anticipated that these things will happen. And now, I’m making a prediction again that will probably take place if we don’t take action. If DOE (Department of Energy) doesn’t take action. Rotating brownouts by summer if we neglect maintenance issues among our baseload plants,” Salceda said. Through EO 164, the Chief Executive has recognized that nuclear power can be a reliable, cost-competitive, and environment-friendly source of energy based on the experience of highly developed countries. “For the country to achieve its sustained growth targets, it must ensure that it has a reliable, secure, sustainable, quality and affordable electricity supply, including sufficient reserve to guarantee that there will be no disruptions in the power supply,” the policy read. It added the use of nuclear energy will address the increasing demand for clean energy, rising by 4.4 percent annually, or an additional capacity of 68 gigawatts by 2040. The EO still included the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP) in the national nuclear program, but other nuclear power installations will be pursued. House Committee on Energy chair Juan Miguel Arroyo, for his part, said the panel has identified eight priority legislative measures and nine laws to be subject to the legislative oversight function of the committee to ensure adequate and affordable power and fuel in the country while continuing to find ways to further improve the local industry and economy. The priority legislative measures include the creation of the Philippine Energy Research and Policy Institute; establishing the Regulatory Framework for the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Industry; Electric Vehicle Industry Development; Energy Advocacy Council Office; Use of Microgrid Systems; Waste-to-Energy Technology; Downstream Natural Gas Industry Development; and Strengthening the Energy Regulatory Commission. Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency
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Philippine Resources - June 10, 2023
DMCI Mining Targets 1.5 Million WMT Nickel Ore Shipment in 2023
Photo Credit: dmcihouse.net DMCI Mining Corporation is targeting to ship 1.5 million wet metric tons (WMT) of nickel ore in 2023, after its subsidiary Zambales Diversified Metals Corporation (ZDMC) was granted an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) in January to produce 2 million WMT of nickel ore. Prior to the ECC issuance, ZDMC was only allowed to extract 1 million WMT. “We have the necessary facilities and mitigating measures to minimize the impact of our operations on the environment. With these in place, we’re targeting to produce anywhere between 1.7 million to 2 million tons of nickel ore this year,” said DMCI Mining president Tulsi Das C. Reyes. From January to March, ZDMC nickel ore production soared by 88 percent from 318,000 WMT to 599,000 WMT, its highest-ever quarterly output. This led to a 16-percent improvement in total inventory, from 154,000 WMT to 178,000 WMT. However, total shipment declined by 21 percent from 620,000 WMT to 487,000 WMT owing to the depletion of the BNC mine and stockpile, cushioned by the double-digit growth of ZDMC shipment. Average selling price increased by 11 percent from USD44 to USD49 owing to higher Zambales shipments of higher-grade nickel ore. Despite the mine and stockpile depletion of Berong, DMCI Mining standalone revenues narrowly declined (-8%) from P1.4 billion to P1.3 billion due to better selling prices while reported net income contracted by 15 percent from P543 million to P463 million.
Philippine Resources - June 10, 2023
DMCI Power to build wind facility in Semirara Island
Leading off-grid electricity generator DMCI Power Corporation (DPC) is set to build a wind power plant in Semirara Island, home of the biggest coal reserve in the Philippines. DPC intends to finalize the wind power capacity in the coming months, with projections ranging from 8 to 12 MW, and operational implementation expected within 12 to 15 months. The project will be funded and undertaken independently by the company. “We are also looking at solar energy to augment the supply in the island, but we are prioritizing wind resource development because it has shown the most promise,” said DPC president Antonino E. Gatdula, Jr. “Current studies suggest that wind power could potentially deliver a 33% plant utilization rate, compared to just 17% for solar. Capital expenditure per megawatt for both wind and solar projects are also roughly the same,” he explained. In a 2001 wind resource study conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a United States Department of Energy (DOE) laboratory, it was found that Semirara Island has some of the best wind resources in the Philippines. The wind corridors between Luzon and Panay (including Semirara Islands and extending to the Cuyo Islands) were found to have good-to-excellent wind power density and speed for utility-scale or village power applications. DPC is in the process of validating these wind resource estimates to determine the final location and capacity of its wind project.
Philippine Resources - June 05, 2023
Semirara Mining and Power Corporation eyes Japanese market expansion
Photo credit: Bilyonaryo Integrated energy company Semirara Mining and Power Corporation (SMPC) is set to make its second trial shipment to Japan this June, in a bid to reduce its dependency on the Chinese market. The company will export 50,000 metric tons (MT) of Semirara coal to Shikoku Electric Power Corporation for its 700-megawatt coal fired ultra-supercritical power station. “China is still our main foreign buyer but with their industrial output growing slower than expected, we want to develop other Asian markets like Japan,” said SMPC president and COO Maria Cristina C. Gotianun. From January to March, Semirara coal shipments to China plunged by 50 percent from 2.2 million MT to 1.1 million MT, accounting for 72 percent of exports. South Korea was a steady market at 300,000 MT, representing one-fifth of export sales. The rest of the exports went to Japan (5%) and Brunei (3%). SMPC first made a trial shipment to Japan in January 2023, selling 78,410 MT of mid-grade coal to J-Power, a utility company that operates coal, hydroelectric, wind and geothermal power stations. “For 2023, we are targeting to export around 30 percent of our full-year sales target of 15 to 16 million MT,” added Gotianun. In the first quarter, standalone coal revenues sank by 40 percent from P25.7 billion to P15.5 billion mainly due to high base effect of record production, shipments and selling prices. Standalone reported net income slumped by 51 percent from P14.2 billion to P7 billion on topline weakness and slower decline in cash costs.
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