Alpas Pinas Advances Nuclear Energy Dialogue as Key to Foster Local Industry Growth

Alpas Pinas, a non-stock, non-profit organization that leads in advocating the use of clean, cheap, yet reliable energy solutions, propels the nuclear energy dialogue to initiate a pivotal move, boosting the country’s local industries and increasing economic competitiveness.

According to Meralco, the largest private sector electric distribution utility company in the Philippines, a small business in the country consumes an average of 25,000 Kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, entailing an annual expense of PhP 261,530. This significant amount, which could otherwise be invested in business maintenance or employee salary increments, is currently funneled into meeting expensive electricity bills.

While organizations are exploring new power facilities driven by liquefied natural gas (LNG) to reduce electricity costs, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks. In fact, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) warns that LNG can significantly increase energy prices.

For instance, since January 2021, the average monthly price of coal, at $8.39 per million British thermal unit (MMBtu), is nearly three times lower than the average JKM (Japan/Korea Marker) LNG price of $22.79/MMBtu. This price disparity translates to higher costs for consumers. IEEFA estimates that LNG costs of $15/MMBtu could translate to a final generation price of nearly eight pesos per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for Filipino consumers. Moreover, LNG’s environmental impact is a concern. It is composed mainly of methane, a greenhouse gas significantly more potent than carbon dioxide, trapping 80 times more heat in the short term and 30 times more in the long run.

In the recent Kapihan sa Manila Bay in Malate, Manila, thought leaders from the public and private sectors delved into how the inclusion of nuclear energy in the country’s energy mix has the potential to lower electricity prices.

President of Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) Dr. Cecilio K. Pedro, expressed his support on advocacies that pushes to improve the energy sector and address the energy supply problem.

For Alpas Pinas Lead Convenor Gayle Certeza, this pressing need underscores why nuclear energy is more than just creating a new power source; it is a way to address the country’s current economic situation.

“There is so much potential for our businesses and economy to grow if only it’s not paralyzed by the high electricity prices. And this problem can be addressed if we recognize nuclear energy as a clean, cheap, and reliable energy source that can provide a significant edge in boosting local businesses, thereby fostering economic growth,” emphasized Certeza.

Certeza further highlighted that nuclear energy, as a cleaner alternative with zero greenhouse gas emissions, aligns seamlessly with businesses’ sustainability objectives. This alignment not only supports companies in achieving their eco-friendly goals but also contributes to the nation’s broader environmental commitments.

The discussion also delved into the affordability and reliability of nuclear energy. Its consistent energy supply with minimal downtime and cost-effectiveness can significantly assist businesses in lowering their production costs. This advantage is particularly beneficial for small to medium enterprises, potentially creating employment opportunities for Filipinos and bolstering the country’s global competitiveness.

Pangasinan 2nd District Representative Mark Cojuangco, an advocate for nuclear energy and recipient of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) Distinguished Public Service Award, echoed this point. He emphasized that the adoption of nuclear energy not only ensures a reliable power source but also attracts vital foreign investments which is a crucial need for the country.

“Now is the opportunity for our government to embrace a new direction. Given our current reliance on fossil fuel technology, it’s high time for our government agencies to recognize the environmental benefits, cost-effectiveness in electricity, and substantial foreign exchange savings that nuclear energy can bring,” said Cojuangco.

The call to embrace nuclear energy transcends its role as a power source; it emerges as a strategic move for shaping a sustainable and competitive economic future for the Philippines.

“Alpas Pinas leads the charge in advocating for every Filipino by embracing the nuclear energy’s cleanliness, affordability, and reliability. This powerful synergy not only addresses the electricity cost crisis but also paves the way for continuous economic growth. Today’s groundwork lays the foundation for a future that is brighter for our business sector—one that can provide more opportunities for more Filipinos,” Certeza concluded.