PH invites US firms to invest in local energy industry

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Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has urged American companies to look into opportunities in the Philippine energy sector.

During the Philippines-United States virtual economic briefing Thursday, Cusi said there are many business opportunities for US firms in the energy sector in the Philippines as the Department of Energy (DOE) pushes for programs that will augment power supply in the country while also advocating the use of clean and indigenous energy sources.

He said US Embassy as well as American firms and residences in the Philippines can avail the Green Energy Option program which allows consumers to exclusively source their power requirements from renewable energy.

“Another opportunity is in nuclear energy. I am a firm believer that integrating nuclear power into the country’s energy mix would significantly help us meet our future power requirements,” Cusi said.

In July 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order establishing the Nuclear Energy Program Inter-Agency Committee (NEP-IAC) to study the viability of including nuclear energy in the country’s energy mix.

The DOE chief added nuclear energy could come in earlier in the power generation mix with the “evolution of the small modular reactors that are suitable for the off grid or island areas of the Philippines”.

But he said some bills should be passed by the Congress which will ease restricting policies on nuclear power.

Moreover, as the DOE has partnered with Australian and Japanese firms, Cusi also invited US companies to explore opportunities for the use of hydrogen as fuel for power generation.

Cusi likewise urged American firms to consider the exploration and development of indigenous energy resources in the Philippines and revitalizing the upstream oil and gas sector.

The country is open to US-based companies to join the exploration of energy resources in the West Philippine Sea.

US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Law said energy is one of three priority sectors under the US government’s Indo-Pacific strategy, along with infrastructure and digital connectivity and cybersecurity.

US Agency for International Development (USAID) acting director Gloria Steele said the USAID will launch the Energy Secure Philippines Activity next month that aims to improve the environment for private investment and competition in the energy sector.

“And through the new activity, USAID will support the private sector’s role in expanding energy sector opportunities and energy efficiency investments. To help achieve our target of $750 million in new investments in the energy sector, USAID will provide transaction advisory services to help close deals and secure investments,” Steele added.

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