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DoE studying RE, hydrogen, nuclear as alternatives to conventional fuels

ENERGY DEPARTMENT Spokesman Felix William B. Fuentebella said the agency is looking into adding more renewable energy (RE), nuclear, and hydrogen-based power in preparation for any possible supply crunch in conventional fuels.

“We are coming up with more options… We have to look into RE and the other fuels that are emerging such as hydrogen and the nuclear technology,” he said at the Department of Energy’s (DoE) year-end videoconference last week.

“There’s a possibility that conventional fuel can be (depleted)… Hindi lang national, pati international. (Not just on a national level, but international),” he added.

Mr. Fuentebella was responding to a question on whether oil and coal-fired generators will eventually be supplanted by RE.

He said the DoE is studying how RE can be connected to the grid and distribution system.

“Although meron tayong sufficient renewable energy sources, kailangan ikabit natin sa grid… ‘yung pagde-deliver natin ng continuous service 24/7 (Although we have sufficient renewable energy sources, we need to connect them to the grid… in a way that ensures 24/7 services). So these are very technical issues; that is why the DoE is (studying the issue more broadly),” he said.

Mr. Fuentebella also cited the need for further studies into nuclear and hydrogen power — both energy sources which were earlier endorsed by Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi.

In December, Mr. Cusi said that the nuclear energy program inter-agency committee has submitted its recommendations to President Rodrigo R. Duterte. He said that the group “positively expected” that nuclear would be included in the country’s power mix.

Five months earlier, the President ordered the creation of the inter-agency body which was tasked to conduct a study on adopting a national position on a nuclear energy program.

In December, Mr. Cusi also announced that the department is looking into the viability of harnessing power from hydrogen.

“I have recently formed a team to study its potential for the local industry given that hydrogen is seen as the fuel of the future,” Mr. Cusi said in his message at the DoE’s virtual celebration of National Energy Consciousness Month.

In October, the DoE issued a ban on new coal-fired projects after its recent assessment showed the need to shift to a more flexible power supply mix. — Angelica Y. Yang

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