Anti-coal power sentiment misplaced, industry lobby says

April 5, 2016 at 13:58

Anti-coal power sentiment misplaced, industry lobby says

By Victor V. Saulon | Posted on March 27, 2016 06:19:00 PM

THE PHILIPPINES cannot afford to reduce the capacity of its coal-fired power plants, the Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) said, as it described a call for “people power” action against these electricity sources as “misplaced.”

Former US Vice-President Al Gore speaks during the Climate Reality Corps Training at the Sofitel Hotel in Pasay City on Monday, March 14. — PHILIPPINE STAR_KRIZJOHN ROSALES

In a statement, the federation said the Philippine response to greenhouse gas reductions should “rationally be based on co-benefit measures such as forestation,” which it said was different from what is called for from developed countries.

Jesus L. Arranza, the federation’s chairman, said the recent call by former US Vice-President Al Gore for action against coal-based power plants in the Philippines was lamentable. “This is not only misplaced but reflects a complete lack of understanding of local conditions,” he said in a statement.

The federation said that as a signatory to the 2015 Manila Declaration on Climate Change, it has been calling for “the alignment of climate change options to national priorities, circumstances and capabilities.”

The declaration, signed on Oct. 23, 2015, had business groups pledging their support to the government’s commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to cut emissions by 70% by 2030.

FPI has been urging robust reforestation, traffic decongestion — noting that vehicles snarled in traffic results in large greenhouse gas emissions — and a rationale evaluation of the country policy on renewable energy.

Compared with the rest of the world, the Philippines is a minimal contributor to carbon emissions, both on a total and per capita basis, the federation said. It also cited the country’s “high penetration of renewable energy capacity.”

It added that although the Philippines accounts for 1.37% of the world population, it only contributes 0.24% of the global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and significantly lower than 1% of the other greenhouse gases.

On an annual CO2 emissions per capita, the country’s footprint translates to 0.9 metric tons CO2 per capita, or much lower compared to developed countries such as the United States at 17, Germany at 8.9, China at 6.7 and Asian neighbor Thailand at 4.5, the federation said.

Mr. Arranza said the Philippines only has 23 coal-fired power plants, which he described as “the backbone of the country’s generating sector” as they produced 35% of the country’s total generated capacity at about 6,000 megawatts (MW).

Coal power plants are baseload power plants that provide stable and dependable power that addresses the requirements of manufacturers and producers, he said.

Mr. Arranza said Mr. Gore’s statement was “irresponsible as the latter miserably failed to consider the national capability of the Philippines” when he said the US was “making reductions in coal power plant while the Philippine is approving additional power plants.”

He said the US has more options in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and “enormous capability” compared to the Philippines.

As of end-2015, the Department of Energy said the country has a total installed capacity of 18,695 MW and dependable capacity of 16,451 MW. Of the installed capacity, coal-powered plants made up 31.5%, while oil-based and natural gas-fired plants accounted for 19.3% and 15.3%, respectively.

Renewable energy sources geothermal, hydro, wind, solar and biomass had a corresponding share of 10.3%, 19.3%, 2.3%, 0.9% and 1.2%.

FPI said the Philippines has one of the highest electricity rates in the world, which it said had been “further exacerbated” by the introduction of the feed-in tariff system to subsidize renewable energy generation.


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