Experts warn: PH to have highest coal share in Asia
MANILA, Philippines – A balanced fuel mix for the power sector is important for the Philippines to sustain economic growth with minimal environmental and health impact, according to energy think tank and global consultancy IHS.
But the future is uncertain since coal is seen to take up 56% of the mix by 2020 and only 35% for gas, IHS said. There are 23 new coal-fired power plants lined up for commercial operation in the next 5 years.
“If coal projects are implemented as planned, Luzon’s coal generation share will be over 75 percent by 2030, and many coal plants will be uneconomic,” it said. “Without intervention, the Philippines is on the path to having the highest coal share in Asia, despite DOE’s intent to have the 1/3 rule.”
IHS recommended in its study on Sustainable Energy Transition that the Philippines adopt clear priorities in ensuring a good energy mix.
This includes a role for gas, coal and renewables by all stakeholders; recognition of the gas competitiveness in mid-merit to achieve a balanced fuel mix; as well as a wider discussion on policy options and roadmap to achieve this balanced energy mix.
The Department of Energy is pushing for a 1/3 rule: 30% for coal; 30% for gas; and 30% for renewable energy and the rest will be for other technologies. (READ: The Philippines' addiction to dirty coal and dirty politics)
The US-based energy think tank said that today, the Philippines has a balanced fuel mix, with coal's share at 42.5%; gas at 24.9%; hydro at 13.3%; geothermal at 12.7%; and oil-based at 6.3%.
But the Philippines cannot be complacent since it is not assured of balanced mix in the future, IHS said.
For one, many power firms generate power from coal because it is the cheapest among all power sources, the group added.
“You want a good mix in power generation? If you look at the cost, coal is the cheapest. But you just don’t want to have the cheapest. You need to have reliability and self-sufficient power source,” former DOE Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla earlier said.
“Moreover, you have to take into consideration the health and environmental factors. The end-goal is to have a fuel mix that does not only take into account the price alone,” Petilla added. – Rappler.com
Coal image from Shutterstock
Coal power plant image from Shutterstock