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Do you believe that everyone has a role in decarbonizing our planet? I wish to share Energy Development Corporation’s mission of decarbonization and the role renewable energy plays in achieving this. Specifically, I want to talk from the perspective of businesses and what we can do to enable the transition to renewables because each of us has a part in enabling the renewable energy sector.

As you may know, EDC generates energy from around 1,500 MW of purely renewable energy facilities across the country, with 1,181 MW coming from geothermal, and we take pride in being able to provide electricity through reliable and environmentally responsible means.


On the road to decarbonization
For over 45 years, we have established ourselves as a renewable energy provider, and we’ve made it our mission to help businesses and communities move forward to decarbonize the country. However, we realize that we must do more to not just enable but also hasten the transition.

We’ve seen the devastating effects of climate change firsthand. In 2013, super-typhoon Yolanda struck Leyte and caused massive damage to our infrastructure and equipment. It took several months to recover before we could continue supplying our communities with electricity. On the bright side, we learned from this and took the necessary steps so that our facilities could be more resilient, as we saw when Odette hit the country just last year. Our resiliency efforts did not go to waste, and we were able to focus on restoring power and providing aid in the aftermath of the storm.

However, we realize that we need to address the root cause of the climate crisis. According to the Department of Energy, an estimated 58 million megawatt-hours produced by coal plants resulted in 58 million tons of CO2 emissions in 2020. Sadly, coal makes up about 55% of the country’s power mix, and it is from here that we can see how urgent a transition to renewable energy is needed.

Our parent company, First Philippine Holdings Group, attempted to estimate the trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions based on existing plans and programs. Admittedly, there is still a considerable gap to close before we’re able to forge a net-zero pathway for the country. As it stands, we can estimate that emissions will rise from 225 Mmt CO2 to about 400 Mmt CO2 by 2050, or roughly 78% over the next three decades.

A lot has been done in the effort to mitigate the climate crisis, but there is much more to do if we’re truly aiming to commit to net-zero.

 

The ever-growing support for the RE shift
As more businesses are becoming more aware of the reality behind the advocacy of climate change, saying no to coal has become paramount.

Last year, the G7, composed of the world’s seven largest advanced economies, agreed to stop funding coal projects that emit carbon by the end of this year and phase out support for all fossil fuels to meet globally agreed climate change targets.

Meanwhile, financial institutions have also agreed to cease funding for coal-fired power plants as of 2020, and big companies like Toshiba and Siemens have also announced that they will no longer pledge support to build coal-fired power plants.

There is hope for us yet as more corporations continue to shift away from fossil fuels and toward more sustainable sources, such as renewables.

 


A transition to RE for PH is possible
Naturally, there are concerns about whether a renewable energy shift is, indeed, possible for a developing country like the Philippines. Isn’t renewable energy expensive to begin with? And do we even have enough renewable sources to provide a reliable and stable supply that will sustain our country’s growing power demand?

According to IRENA, the cost competitiveness of renewables has reached historic low levels and they are now more affordable than building new coal-fired power plants. Bloomberg NEF has stated that the global benchmark Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) for onshore wind and utility-scale PV has dropped by 9% and 4% in the 2nd half of 2019 alone, to $44/MWh and $50/MWh, respectively. In comparison, the LCOE of Coal was approximately $73/MWh.

Now, solar and wind energy are both clean energy sources, but they come with their own pros and cons—most notably that they are intermittent and site-specific.

Solar has a capacity factor of about 18%, while wind energy is somewhere between 25 to 30%. Simply put, neither can operate 24 hours a day, and a combination of large wind and solar installations across the country and in combination with battery storage would be needed to compensate for their peculiarities.

However, baseload energy such as geothermal can provide stable and reliable power all year round, making GEO 24/7 the ideal source of power. However, geothermal energy, like any other intermittent renewable energy, is site-specific. Though we have it in abundance, it is not enough to supply 100% of our country’s growing power demand.


Enforcing regulations is key to net-zero
Expanding and building renewable energy facilities is crucial to decarbonizing the energy sector, and part of what we need is solid support from both private and public sectors. We are lucky to have policies that complement our mission to be carbon negative, such as the coal moratorium implemented by the DOE in 2020.

The DOE’s Renewable Portfolio Standards goal of increasing RE by 35% by requiring electric cooperatives, distribution utilities, and Retail Electricity Suppliers (RES) to source a portion of their power from RE is a step in the right direction. It will be assisted by a new market development support program called the Green Energy Auction Program (GEAP) that will conduct a transparent and competitive selection of RE facilities.

Meanwhile, the Green Energy Option Program or GEOP now allows businesses that consume at least 100kW of power to contract green energy directly from licensed renewable energy suppliers. If your electricity bill costs P165,000 or higher, then your business is likely qualified to shift to more competitively priced power from renewables.


Our call: Advocate for RE
Decarbonizing the energy sector is well within our reach, but we have to work together to see this through. Now, we must ask ourselves—how can I as an individual contribute to the cause and urge a faster transition to RE? For our part as private citizens, shifting the conversation to a bias for RE can have a reverberating effect on the transition to an RE-dominated economy.

By buying products from companies like Unilever Philippines, Bounty Fresh, Globe, Mondelez Philippines, and other brands that already source power from renewable energy and by eagerly sharing about them through various means of communication like social media, you get to influence your family, friends, and other connections to patronize environmentally responsible companies.

On the other hand, you can also urge other brands who have yet to take action to join the advocacy and make the switch to clean energy for a chance at a net-zero future.

Through a unified, cohesive voice, we can all be enablers of our country’s transition to RE. By using our voices, we can work together to forge collaborative pathways with the government, with the financial and energy industry, and with all electricity consumers for a decarbonized future for our country.

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The Energy Development Corporation (EDC) is a pioneer in generating 100% clean, renewable, and reliable power as an electricity supplier in the Philippines for over 40 years. With power plants all over Visayas and Mindanao, the company is one of the biggest producers of geothermal energy in Asia and is expanding its reach in the international market, allowing it to offer customers affordable energy rates. EDC also strives to provide the best customer service it can to all its clients by having helpful salespeople and easy to understand contracts. Because of all of this, it is poised to become the premier supplier of electricity for the Philippines’ Green Energy Option Program. EDC takes its mission as a renewable energy provider seriously and goes beyond sustainability by investing in programs that enhance the environment and empower its partner communities, thereby fostering regenerative development. The company has also been working toward being carbon-neutral by improving its energy efficiency, as well as implementing various greening projects to ensure that its mission to provide future generations with a better life remains intact.

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