Nov 252016

MANILA, Philippines – The Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc. (SEIPI) is batting for a shift toward natural gas as a main source of power to replace coal, citing its competitive edge in terms of cost and environmental impact.

“One of the major challenges faced by the electronics industry is the high cost of power, which is the second worst in Asia,” SEIPI president Dan Lachica said.

He said the high power costs remain among the biggest problems for the country’s electronics industry, which produces its top export.

Given the persisting concerns on high power cost, SEIPI welcomed the recent inauguration of the new natural gas-fired power plants owned by First Gen Corp., which the group said would provide much needed additional generating capacity to the Luzon grid.

The group said natural gas is the best alternative to coal which is currently the cheapest source of power.

Lopez-led First Gen switched on its 414-megawatt (MW) San Gabriel combined-cycle and 97-MW Avion open cycle natural gas-fired power plants in Santa Rita, Batangas on Nov. 11.

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“The additional 511 MW from these natural gas power plants is a welcome development for our Philippine electronics industry,” Lachica said.

For this year, electronics exports are seen returning to record levels should it finish on the higher end of industry growth targets.

SEIPI is targeting a two to five percent jump in electronics exports this year. Hitting a five percent growth, according to Lachica, would place the export value of electronic products to $30 billion to $31 billion by year-end, matching the previous record high posted in 2010.

Last year, total outbound shipment of electronics rose 7.9 percent to $28.92 billion from $26.79 billion in 2014.

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