Cojuangco’s BNPP bill will tax renewables to fund nuclear plant

While the rest of the world want to subsidize renewable energy to hasten our shift to renewables, Rep. Mark Cojuangco of Pangasinan instead wants renewables to subsidize the rehabilitation of a nuclear plant of questionable safely, justifying his proposal not with expert feasibility studies but with Wikipedia articles and sound-bytes from Greenpeace renegade Patrick Moore.

This is what Sec. 22 of Cojuangco’s bill to recommission the BNPP says:

“The State may raise equity through a surcharge of PhP 0.10/kWH of the total electric power generated in the country: Provided, That such collection of surcharge shall not exceed five (5) years from the date of its initial imposition.”

Cojuangco wants to impose a surcharge on all electric power generated, including coal, natural gas, geothermal, solar, wind, microhydro, biogas and other renewables, and use the amount to recommission the Bataan nuclear power plant (BNPP). Because the surcharge is also a fixed amount, this also means that the cheaper the source of electricity, the greater the percentage surcharge that source will have to pay. So as renewables improve their efficiency and performance in the next five years, as they are expected to, they will be paying more, percentage-wise. And as oil-based plants produce more expensive electricity in the next five years as oil prices escalate, they will be paying less, percentage-wise.

So not only does Cojuangco want renewables to subsidize the BNPP recommissioning, he also wants the renewables to carry a greater burden of the subsidy as renewables get cheaper, and non-nuclear carry a lighter burden as they get more expensive.

If the amount collected is not enough, Cojuangco then wants the government to borrow money, from local or foreign sources, to complete the $1 billion he says is “supposedly” needed to recommission the BNPP. This is what Sec. 22 further says:

“The State is also authorized to enter into international or domestic loan agreements to fund the implementation of this Act: Provided, That the total funds raised from the surchange and the loan combined shall not exceed US$1 billion.”

The government will collect from electricity consumers or borrow from abroad up to $1 billion to recommission a 22-year old unused nuclear plant whose safety remains unresolved?

Déjà vu.


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