Next administration urged to focus on clean energy

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QUICK READ: Energy Development Corporation remains hopeful that the next administration will continue to focus on renewable energy as the Philippines slowly transitions from coal to clean power.


Energy Development Corp. (EDC) is hopeful that the next administration will continue to give focus on renewables as the country has begun a gradual transition from coal to clean power.


EDC Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Erwin Avante recognized the support of the current administration in implementing mechanisms that encourages investors to further increase their renewable energy (RE) capacity.


“We are very hopeful that the next administration will be able to continue whatever the current administration has as far as supporting the renewable energy. The current administration is very supportive of RE and actually, they’ve put in place a lot of frameworks.


Hopefully, they will be able to continue that and probably consider more to better ease the transition to more RE moving forward,” he said during the Public-Private Collaboration event on Wednesday.


Despite the moratorium on new coal power projects, Avante stressed the need to “accelerate the retirement of coal plants and expand the coal moratorium.”


“But I think talking about transitioning to cleaner energy, we need to address the elephant in the room which is coal. GHG [greenhouse gas] emission of Philippines, over 50 percent comes from the energy sector and a big contributor of that is because of the energy mix.


If you look at the power generation mix of the country in 2015, about mid-40s is coal and by 2020, it increased to about mid-50s, about 54 percent. Carbon footprint of coal plant versus geothermal, it is seven times more,” Avante said.


The Philippines declared a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants last year.


“With the coal moratorium, it actually provided exemptions on plants that are in the pipeline or are in the planning stage right now. So, we could see a situation that even by 2040, we will still have about 10 GW of coal installed capacity,” he said.


While the Department of Energy (DOE) stressed its commitment to support the global effort to transition gradually from coal to clean power remains a priority, it did not commit to phasing out coal power projects in the country during the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.


Avante recognized the recent announcement of the Department of Finance about a multi-billion dollar Asian Development Bank-backed facility for energy transition mechanism that would hasten the retirement of coal plants and increase investments in RE.


“A lot of foreign banks and some local banks made a public declaration to stop funding coal. That is very crucial.”


In the updated Energy Plan 2020-2040, the DOE is aiming to make renewable energy account for 35 percent of the Philippine energy mix by 2030 and 50 percent by 2040.


“We cannot behave like developed economies since we are a developing country. Nonetheless, we remain committed to a gradual transition to renewable energy. Immediate transition will entail additional cost so we must strike a healthy balance in protecting our consumers and our economy and our quest for a cleaner environment,” Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said.


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.