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The sun is setting on coal

The previous mentality around renewable energy, that it was expensive and "all about subsidies," has now been "turned on its head" as prices, particularly in solar energy, had fallen, Barry said. 

"The thing that has changed fundamentally the whole picture,” he explained, “is that renewables have gotten so cheap.”

Just take the example of India, where the government has pledged to end expansive coal imports. India is on track to construct a remarkable 275 GW of renewable energy by 2027. This month, costs for solar hit another record low, dropping a remarkable 45% since January 2016 when India’s last solar record low was set. 

In the past few weeks alone, multiple major new coal plant proposals in India have been shelved for the simple reason they can no longer compete on price.

While the price of renewables continues to plummet, the cost of coal finance will increase.

However, the Philippines is lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to acknowledging risk in the cost of capital. Whilst finance for coal plants may be available at an artificially low cost today, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the Department of Energy (DOE) and must realize that least cost is not a static concept. 

In the world of finance, contrary to popular belief, the tipping point is not when solar and batteries are cheaper than coal, it is when investors see the writing on the wall.  

That time is now. 

For the Philippines, we have an opportunity today to reduce our reliance on foreign coal, and to ride the investment boom in clean energy. (READ: Coal-minded leaders left behind by green energy growth - Al Gore)

While the death of coal may not happen overnight, the sun is setting fast and we do not want to be left in the dark. – Rappler.com

Sara Jane Ahmed is an energy finance analyst of the US-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. She is a former investment advisor specializing in originating and structuring energy opportunities in emerging markets.