Martin2 Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez shakes hands with US President Joe Biden Monday afternoon (US time) at the White House where the United States and Philippine leaders held a bilateral meeting to reaffirm and further bolster the enduring relations between the two countries. Photo by VER NOVENO

SFMR: PBBM TIRELESS

May 2, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 280 views

In efforts to fulfill promise of cheaper, reliable energy for Pinoys

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Monday (Washington time) lauded the unrelenting effort of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. to fulfill his promise of providing cheaper and reliable power to Filipinos.

This developed after a top nuclear energy firm based in the United States expressed interest to invest in the Philippines after a meeting Monday with President Marcos in Washington D.C. Monday morning.

Speaker Romualdez was among the Filipino officials who accompanied the President during the meeting.

In the meeting, Oregon-based NuScale Power Corporation which designs and markets small modular reactors (SMRs) said it is planning to conduct a study to locate a suitable site for its system in the Philippines.

“This positive development proves the unrelenting commitment of President Marcos to fulfill his promise to the Filipino people of ensuring the availability of cheap and reliable energy,” Speaker Romualdez said.

The Speaker noted that in the first State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Marcos, the Chief Executive vowed that energy will be a “key sector” in his administration’s push for economic growth and increased employment.

The President’s meeting Monday with NuScale builds on the initial discussions held in their first talks in September last year in New York on the sidelines of his participation at the United Nations General Assembly.

“Adequate and cheaper energy source of power is crucial to sustaining our robust economic growth. But the President is very much aware that building additional energy generation capacity takes years to accomplish and it is prudent that we should continuously explore alternatives—including the use of nuclear power—to achieve this goal,” Speaker Romualdez said.

Last March the House Committee on Nuclear Energy voted to approve a consolidated substitute bill for a comprehensive atomic regulatory framework, creating for the purpose the Philippine Atomic Regulatory Commission.

“On our end at the House of Representatives, we are working hard to pass measures that would provide the necessary legal framework and policies to encourage the development of alternative power sources in support of the President’s vision for our nation’s energy security,” he added.

Among others, Speaker Romualdez cited the approval of the Waste-to-Energy Bill, which is among the 23 priority measures the House has approved from the 31 bills identified by the Legislative-Executive Advisory Council (LEDAC) as priority measures of the Marcos administration.

Likewise, there are several measures in the House currently undergoing committee deliberation that seek, among others, to promote the uses of clean and renewable energy such as solar or wind power.

Meanwhile, Speaker Romualdez said the meeting with NuScale is “very promising” as SMR is the first and only one of its kind to receive design approval from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The company has existing projects in Utah, Romania, Indonesia, and Poland providing safe, reliable and cost competitive clean energy to consumers.

NuScale is expected to invest $6.5 to 7.5B to provide 430MW to the Philippines by 2031.

Among the NuScale officials present in the meeting were Clayton Scott, executive vice president for business, and Cheryl Collins, director for sales. Nuscale was accompanied by local partner Enrique Razon, representing Prime Infrastructure Capital, Inc. (Prime Infra).

Apart from Speaker Romualdez, other Philippine government officials who joined the President in the business meeting were former President-turned senior Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla, Special Assistant to the President Secretary Antonio Lagdameo Jr., Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil, and Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez.

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