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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Gatchalian asks gov’t to avert higher coal prices

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Senator Sherwin Gatchalian asked the Department of Energy to come up with contingency measures to ensure sufficient coal supply and avert possible higher coal prices following the Indonesian government’s decision to ban coal exports starting this month.

“Part of the contingency measures should be to ensure the adherence of coal-fired power plants to the 30-day minimum inventory requirement,” Gatchalian said.

The ban causes concerns on the country’s supply of coal for power plants which, if insufficient, could lead to widespread blackouts.

“The government should also consider looking for other suppliers especially in the coming weeks, given the possible decline in stockpiles coming from Indonesia which could result in soaring coal prices,” he said.

Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate energy committee, said Indonesia is the biggest supplier of coal in the country. The Philippines derived 57.17 percent of power generation from coal as of 2020.

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He said that as of October 2021, the Philippines acquired 96.88 percent of imported coal supply from Indonesia, 1.82 percent from Australia, 0.35 percent from Vietnam and 0.94 percent from other exporting countries, based on DOE data.

Of the total 42.476 million metric tons of coal produced and imported in 2020, 69.51 percent of which were imported and 30.49 percent came from local sources.

“This could be a wake-up call as well. The government should probably start rethinking and be more committed in reducing the share of coal by further diversifying our generation mix,” Gatchalian said.

Gatchalian said around 28,000 megawatts of potential capacity from renewable energy sources based on awarded service contracts could diversify the country’s energy supply.

“If we maximize the 28,000 MW, we don’t need to import coal and we don’t need to import natural gas,” he said.

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