MANILA, Philippines – “We cannot just discount coal,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said in reaction to Environment Secretary Gina Lopez’s advocacy to stop coal-fired power plants.
Cusi said after the Department of Energy (DOE) turnover ceremony in Taguig City on Monday, July 4, that he will talk to Lopez to come up with “a healthy balance of coal and renewable power plants.”
“We have to help one another find that solution. I’m sure Ms. Gina Lopez is open to a solution to adequate power supply,” Cusi told reporters.
The Philippine government has been working on a 30-30-30 fuel mix goal to reduce the country’s coal dependence.
Under the DOE policy, the Philippines should source 30% of its energy requirements from coal, 30% from renewable energy (RE), and another 30% from natural gas.
The remaining 10% will come from oil-based power plants.
“Coal is more dependable and a more reliable source for caseload than renewables. We can’t be dependent on just a single source,” Cusi said.
Based on DOE data, 70% of the 5,000 megawatts (MW) of power-generating capacity that are being built and will be built until 2020 are coal-based.
There are around 20 coal-fired power plants operating in the country today, data from DOE showed.
Yet, some of the most powerful countries in the world are stepping back from coal, branded by scientists and environmentalists as “dirty energy” because of its toxic emissions. (READ: PH bucking global trend vs coal use)
The use of fossil fuels like coal as an energy source is the number one driver of global warming being a top emitter of greenhouse gases. (READ: The future of coal-fired power plants)
Lopez is a critic of the country’s use of fossil fuels as energy sources. The chief of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has been long campaigning against coal mining, advocating instead that eco-tourism be used to boost local economies.
“We lack capacity for dependable power. We can’t just merely rely on renewables for now,” Cusi said. – Rappler.com
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