Group tells Cusi: PH coal phase-out possible with RE mix

Clean energy and consumer rights advocacy group Power for People Coalition (P4P) on Monday slammed the statement of the Department of Energy (DOE) that the Philippines could not get rid of coal in the energy mix.

According to the group, dependence on coal can be abandoned in a green energy scenario of a decentralized grid system powered by a mix of renewable energy systems.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi issued the statement during the presentation of the Philippine Energy Plan (PEP) at the virtual Energy Investment Forum.

“Under the clean energy or low carbon scenario, there will be a slower growth of total primary energy supply, as a result of our energy efficiency and conservation measures,” Cusi said.

“There is no ‘green energy scenario’ that involves coal or fossil fuels as a primary energy supply. As we have said before, it seems like Secretary Cusi only wants to enjoy the PR points from renewable energy without giving its true benefits to the people – affordability, reliability, and sustainability – which by the way are the things our people truly need,” said P4P Convenor Gerry Arances.

Arances said the current electrical system, which relies on a national grid powered by coal, ensures that the Philippines would repeat the power crisis of 2019 and the ‘bill shock’ of 2020, in addition to suffering from massive damage during extraordinary natural disasters, such as the five successive typhoons which hit the country recently.

“The main argument for keeping coal is that it provides a baseload for the single monolithic grid. A grid that keeps failing when it is needed, a grid which ensures that there is a single point of failure in the case of disasters,” Arances said.

“Renewable energy allows community-based grids which would make our energy supply more resilient, on top of the already much-repeated benefits of affordability, sustainability, and reliability which only renewables could offer,” he added.

The green energy advocate said that those who insist on coal are defending not just fuel, but an energy sector paradigm that is anti-Earth, anti-poor, and anti-consumer.

“They are resisting the well-established science out of self-interest or are misguided and blind to the reality of exorbitant electricity costs and an alarmingly unstable grid,” said Arances.

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