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Welcome Remarks by DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi
« on: August 11, 2017, 05:14:53 PM »
Secretary A.G. Cusi
9 August 2017, Be Grand Hotel, Bohol, Philippines
Professor Hidetoshi Nashimura
President of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA)
His Excellency Pehin Dato Seri Setia (Dr.) Awang Hajimohammad Yasmin Bin Haji Umar
Minister of Energy and Industry
Prime Minister’s Office, Brunei Darrusalam
His Excellency Yang Berhormat Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Maximus Johnity Ongkali
Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water, Malaysia,
Esteemed Energy Ministers and Energy Officials of ASEAN Member States,
Members of the Energy Research Institute Network (ERIN)
The Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ);
National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR),
Resource speakers and panellists from the University of Tokyo (UTOKYO),
ASEAN Forum on Coal (AFOC),
Japan Coal Energy Center (JCOAL),
International Energy Agency (IEA),
Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF),
Colleagues from the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC),
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen, let me begin by welcoming you to the 1st East Asia Energy Forum, an associated meeting organized under the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD).
I also want to give a special and warm welcome to those of who have come from far away to be with us this morning. Mabuhay! And I hope you are having a wonderful time in our beautiful country.
I must also thank the organizers for giving me the opportunity to address this distinguished gathering. This Forum, as noted, is the first of its kind and is indeed a historic occasion. Energy is obviously a key component in economic development: the latter simply cannot happen without the former.
It is hence, timely and relevant to deepen our critical awareness and share expertise in this area. I also earnestly hope that this Forum can eventually be institutionalized as a regular event in regional energy cooperation for ASEAN and East Asia.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Philippines is today a nation of more than 100 million people spread across more than 7,000 islands. We are also—according to the World Bank—the 10th fastest-growing economy in the world. Developing economies, like ours, will need cost-efficient and reliable energy to meet our economic potential.
Our energy decisions are all the more complex when we consider the issue of climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – matters which inevitably arise when discussing conventional energy. In Asia, where one in seven people lack access to basic electricity, the line between promoting socioeconomic growth and combating climate change is an extremely fine one for governments.
The good news is that renewable energy costs are falling. However, the intermittent nature of certain renewable technologies and high battery storage costs mean that it is not often a feasible or reliable source of baseload power.
Being aware of the energy needs of today, I am optimistic that the necessary technological progress in renewable energy will one day be made. Until that day comes, conventional energy will have a role to play.
Conventional energy is the benchmark that renewable energy will need to meet or surpass in order to be a sustainable solution to the world’s energy needs. In Japan, the Isogo Thermal Power Station has an electricity efficiency of 45%. To put things into context, the most efficient solar panels have efficiencies of below 30%.
Ultimately, conventional energy is our bridge to a carbon-free energy future. I don’t know when that will happen. But until it does, it is clear that conventional energy will provide the reliability, security and diversification we need to encourage socio-economic growth.
This in turn will make it more conducive for investments into more sustainable and efficient technologies. Moreover, direct competition between conventional and renewable energy will encourage rapid improvement in renewable technologies.
Ladies and gentlemen, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach for an ideal energy mix. Each of our countries have different economies, geographies and social needs. As such, I believe it is important to take a “technology-neutral” approach when devising our energy policies.
Allow me to elaborate what I mean by this.  Broadly speaking, “technology-neutral” means that we shouldn’t be constrained by rigid or arbitrary targets in sourcing our energy. In other words, both conventional and non-conventional sources must be considered. However, this shouldn’t be equated with abandoning climate action.
There are things we can do fairly quickly to make conventional energy sources more sustainable. For instance, refurbishing old and naturally degrading coal power plants will increase fuel efficiency. Indeed, the International Energy Agency estimates that this could cut over 1.5 billion metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
This initiative is being driven by Asian countries such as Japan and India, not to mention China, whose re-engineering of the Shanghai-Waigaqiao No 3 Power Plant is a notable highlight.
We’re trying to replicate this creative approach in the Philippines, by phasing out old and inefficient generation facilities, and promoting critical coal-fired plants. This, among other efficient technologies, will allow developing nations to reduce their impact on the environment, providing alternative short- to medium-term solutions to prohibitively costly new energy sources that are more suited for long-term scenarios.
Ladies and gentlemen, of course, much more can and should be done. Today’s forum is hence a good opportunity for the ASEAN and East Asian economies to craft possible solutions to the inter-related challenges of energy security and climate change.
I hope that everyone will actively participate in developing recommendations to strengthen our energy policy that will serve as the basis for informed decisions at all levels –whether global, regional and national. We hope to learn, but also share our experiences with you. I end by wishing you all a very productive discussion ahead and to welcome you all once again.
Thank you and have an enjoyable week in the Philippines! Mabuhay!

Romans 10:9-10
"If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."

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