NEDA backs nuclear, renewable energy investments

Louella Desiderio – The Philippine Star

August 26, 2022 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), which is pushing for more investments in the energy sector to support economic growth, is backing moves to explore nuclear as an energy source along with renewables.

During the Employers Confederation of the Philippines’ National Conference of Employers yesterday, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said energy is very high in the government’s economic agenda as it is an important binding constraint to the attainment of the projected economic growth in the medium term.

In particular, the government is aiming to grow by 6.5 percent to eight percent annually for 2023 to 2028.

“We must ensure that investment into the sector must come in and must come in quickly because with the 6.5 to eight percent growth, that reserve can easily be wiped out,” Balisacan said.

He also said nuclear energy is one source that can be considered, along with renewable energy sources.

“Nuclear is one energy source that can be reliable, can be low cost and we explore that as part of a mix of what I refer to as efficient, affordable and sustainable and reliable energy sources,” he said.

He also said the country needs to seize opportunities in renewable energy sources.

As for coal-powered plants, he said many countries are moving away from such given the climate change challenge.

As one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, he said the Philippines must also do its part.

“If there are alternative sources of energy that are cheaper, accessible, reliable, it boils down to that,” he said.

“We don’t want also a scenario where we end up with a particular source of energy, but it comes at the expense of jobs because the private sector for example, will lose their competitiveness if the energy cost is more expensive than what other countries have for their energy,” he said.

During his State of the Nation Address, President Marcos said it is time to re-examine the country’s strategy toward building nuclear power plants.

He also said the search for new energy sources should be towards improving the energy mix between traditional and renewable sources.

Apart from energy, Balisacan said the need for supporting infrastructure in transportation, logistics, telecommunications, and water are considered binding constraints to investments and job creation in the country and would be addressed over the next six years.

He said the government is looking at pursuing public-private partnerships to upgrade the country’s infrastructure.

“A productive and skilled workforce supported by critical infrastructure, which is fundamental to any dynamic economy, is more likely to access the numerous job and market opportunities made available by a growing economic pie. This access is key to raising incomes quickly and sustainably, leading to rapid poverty reduction,” he said.

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