Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., the banking unit of the Yuchengco Group of Companies, will no longer fund coal power plants as part of the lender’s efforts toward future-proofing the energy sector, a top executive said Thursday.
RCBC president and chief executive Eugene Acevedo said during YGC Future-Proofing 2021 virtual forum the bank had not funded any coal project in the past two years.
“No more coal, but they will still be in our balance sheet for a while. It’s very difficult for the country to subsist on purely or 100-percent renewable, so we will have a nice mix,” Acevedo said.
He said many of those who used to be in the coal industry were migrating to renewable energy. “All loans for energy projects moving forward will be non-coal to create a robust energy grid,” he said, adding that aside from renewable energy, the company would also fund gas-fired power projects.
Acevedo said the entire banking system was moving in this direction of funding away from coal.
Milagros Reyes, president of PetroEnergy Resources Corp. which is a part of the Yuchengco Group, said the company was focused on renewable energy and would develop 350-megawatt to 400-MW of capacity in the next three to four years.
She said the company was exploring wind and solar projects in offshore areas.
Reyes said the COVID-19 pandemic had validated that RE is an important and long-term solution to the country’s energy needs.
“Not only because it is less susceptible to supply chain disruptions, but RE reduces atmospheric pollution and promotes clean environment, which is going to be one of the top priorities across societies, moving forward,” Reyes said.
Reyes lauded the government’s efforts to develop RE such as the Green Energy Auction Program and the recent announcement by the Department of Energy on the moratorium of new coal-fired power plants to help achieve the goal of 35-percent RE in the energy mix by 2030.
She said the pandemic clearly demonstrated the necessity for quick innovation and flexibility, which had long been practiced by PetroEnergy.
The company, however, was not able to remedy the big slowdown in almost all aspects of development work from government permitting to site acquisition which pushed its expansion program to 12 months.
“In the next two to three years, there may not be more than 1,000 MW of solar and wind installed because we will just be recovering and adjusting to new policies of government and market realities. New plants will have heavier utilization of IT tools and infrastructure and more focus on employees’ health and well-being. Our company will be leveraging on technology and capitalizing on our human resource which is a pool of highly-skilled and well-trained individuals who easily adapt to fast evolving technologies and work environment,” Reyes said.
“And into the future, we will continue to work according to our model of one solid step at a time as we have taken to building at least one power plant each year since 2014, until we attain our goal of 400 MW in three to four years’ time, after which we shall take a big step into the Philippine offshore areas,” Reyes said.