MANILA, Philippines, 28thFebruary 2018—GlobalBusiness Power (GBP) is leading the call for the energy sector to adopt a sustainable approach to development, as various industry stakeholders gathered to discuss the country’s current energy issues and challenges at the recent 2018 Asian Power Utility Forum at the Makati Shangri-La.
Speaking at the annual forum, GBP President Jaime Azurin called for energy stakeholders to work together to address both economic and environmental challenges. “Energy is the lifeblood of all economic activity, without power our factories and offices and railways will simply not run, but generating power to support these activities cause pressures on the environment,” he said, urging the sector to heed the global sustainable development agenda.
Balanced energy mix
Azurin cited the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs, which emphasize the energy sector as being crucial to the resolution of many development issues.
The SDGs, by 2030, aim to ensure universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services as well as the double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency, among others. To achieve this, Azurin highlighted five key areas in which GBP and other energy stakeholders can play significant roles.
Azurin reiterated the government’ call to achieve a balance in energy mix, adding that sustainability goes beyond the selection of any specific technology. He said that several factors still affect the access to renewable energy, primarily geographic limitations and the issue of energy storage. “To achieve energy security, we must optimize the resources available to us whether they’re conventional or renewable,” he said, adding that GBP is working to ensure that its energy portfolio complement each other and readily addresses its customers’ diverse requirements.
Azurin further mentioned that considering the Philippines’ anticipated economic growth and its installed energy capacity, an optimal energy mix would be 70% conventional energy, 30% renewable energy, and an additional 22% to be used for ancillary services, which can be sourced from a combination of conventional and renewable energy sources.
Underscoring the importance of a stable regulatory environment to support the sector’s development, Azurin said that regulatory issues must be addressed to avoid potential gaps in policy. He noted that the forthcoming implementation of the renewable portfolio standards, which require distribution utilities to source a portion of their power supply from eligible RE producers, as well as the green energy option, where end-users must have the option to choose RE as their energy source.
Another key priority is improving energy efficiency, which Azurin said can be achieved by adopting various energy efficiency measures in day-to-day operations. He cited as example the installation of solar panels on GBP’s administration building in its plant in Iloilo, which reduced the plant’s fossil fuel consumption for houseload requirements. He also said that GBP is launching the state-of-the-art GBP Institute of Energy to promote better understanding of clean coal technology and promote energy efficiency.
Azurin also said that energy companies must continue using and improving energy technology that responds to the environment. He said there are already existing technologies that enhance energy production while providing environmental safeguards, such as the circulating fluidized bed (CFB) technology that GBP uses in three of its biggest plants in Iloilo and Toledo City, Cebu.
Platform for growth
“Reliable energy supply create a conducive environment for more investors to pour money and resources in an area and create jobs,” Azurin said, citing GBP’s experience with the cities of Iloilo and Toledo. Stable power supply has transformed Iloilo City into one of Visayas’ largest economic centers, with world-class facilities and large-scale investments by the country’s biggest conglomerates. Toledo, meanwhile, now hosts large industries such as mining and shipbuilding, providing employment for its residents.
Azurin said that the key is for all sectors to work together and resolve differences. “From the government to the generation companies and down to customers, we have a crucial role to play,” he said.
Now on its third edition, the Asian Power Utility Forum is held on separate legs on three different Asian cities, and aims to tackle the most pressing concerns facing Asia’s energy sector.