The advocacy group Power for People Coalition on Tuesday called for accountability from the Department of Energy and the national government for the role of their policies in worsening the climate emergency.
P4P, in a statement, said coal was the Philippines’ biggest source of electricity due to the “technologically neutral” stance of the department.
The group said this had encouraged the construction of more coal power plants in the country, bucking a trend among advanced countries to stop further reliance on coal.
P4P called on the department to use its declared moratorium on endorsements for new or greenfield power plants to take out all coal-fired power plants in the country amid a worsening climate change.
“So long as we burn coal, its greenhouse gas emissions will continue to heat the Earth and produce typhoons like Rolly and Ulysses, only much stronger and more frequently. It’s already too late to reverse the current trend of typhoons, but it’s not too late to stop the trend from becoming worse,” said Gerry Arances, P4P convenor.
He said the coal moratorium was DOE’s way of covering its failures and bad planning and its role in causing the high power rates in the country.
The group said the DOE’s coal-moratorium decision showed it finally succumbed to market signals, the strong drive of renewables, the stranding of coal plants in Mindanao with an excess in baseload capacity.
P4P, which is at the forefront of the fight against coal in the country with its member-organizations active in resisting both existing and planned coal-fired power plants, is now planning to hold another National Day of Action Against Coal to demand that the DOE use
the coal moratorium to permanently prohibit the issuance of any new Certificates of Endorsements for coal projects in the pipeline, eventually revoke existing ones, and begin the decommissioning process for operating plants.
However, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi had previously rejected the calls for a total ban on coal in the power generation mix following the imposition of the moratorium on new coal-fired power plants.
“We are doing what is good for our country. If we immediately stop coal, where do we get the power?” Cusi said.
Cusi he expects the new government policy to usher in new investments from other sources of energy.
“There will be an opening for other sources of energy to take the place of coal. We are doing this based on the power needs of the country,” he said.
“We’ve seen we already have enough supply of baseload, and we are looking at more flexible sources like gas, geothermal, hydro and others.”
Cusi says his department will no longer accept new coal-fired power applications. With Willie Casas