THE Alyansa ng mga Grupong Haligi ng Agham at Teknolohiya para sa Mamamayan (AGHAM) party-list group on Sunday welcomed the Department of Energy’s (DoE) recent pronouncement to clear a confusion brought about by an earlier announcement imposing a moratorium on the endorsement of greenfield coal power plants.
Former AGHAM party-list Rep. Angelo B. Palmones, dzRH anchor, said DoE’s recent clarification that there would be no policy to bar existing plants from continuing operations is a huge relief for major power players in the country.
Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi recently said in an online briefing that coal-fired power plants will continue to be an important component of the Philippines’ energy mix.
The government cannot afford to mandate a retirement of such facilities although it is prepared to disallow additional projects, said Cusi.
The moratorium on greenfield coal-fired power plants the DoE issued last month only applies to those projects that have not yet been proposed, or whose proponents have not filed their applications for DoE endorsement or for permits.
Palmones, AGHAM president, said that banning coal-fired power plants, both existing ones and those that have already been given prior endorsements and Certified Energy Project of National Significance from DoE, will put the country’s energy security at risk.
Palmones added that with the sheer volume of the country’s rising power demand, Philippines needs reliable sources of power to provide it with a stable baseload generating capacity. The country still needs coal power plants to address the demand.
AGHAM, Palmones added, believes the country cannot immediately shift to renewable energy, which is being pushed by anti-coal groups.
“The anti-coal groups should understand that the country could not go full blast on RE at once because it is neither cheap nor reliable,” Palmones added.