Sen. Grace Poe has vowed to give priority to the development of clean energy sources, saying she will limit the use of coal.
Poe, who cited the development of renewable energy sources in her 20-point priority agenda, said the Philippines should start to focus on tapping cleaner and more sustainable energy sources.
“We will put a cap on coal in our energy mix. Such mix will be determined through consultations, taking into account our commitment to reduce carbon emissions under the Paris Agreement,” she added.
The Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that the Philippines will need 13,167 megawatts of additional power capacity by 2030. Of this, 8,548 MW are expected to be generated by baseload power plants or facilities that produce energy at a constant rate to meet the continuous energy demand.
Coal-fired power plants are the dominant energy-producing technology because it is deemed cheaper and easier to build. There are 23 coal-fired power plants in the Philippines, providing 5,632 megawatts of power or 34.2 percent of dependable power capacity.
The cost of building coal plants, however, does not consider the external costs of coal such as pollution and health impacts, the World Bank said, and if these were taken into account, coal would be among the most expensive forms of power generation.
“[Coal, of course, has environmental impacts. If I become President, my priority would be] clean and alternative sources of energy,” Poe told reporters in an interview in Iligan City in Mindanao on Wednesday night.
She noted that the total committed and indicative coal-fired power plants built between 2012 and 2030 can already deliver 11,992 megawatts, exceeding the country’s baseload capacity requirement of 8,400 MW, as indicated in the Philippine Energy Plan.
“Ang importante magkaroon tayo ng mas maraming supply ng kuryente at sana patungo na rin sa renewable energy. ‘Yan ang dapat agenda ng bagong Pangulo [What is important is that we will have sufficient power supply and we’re on our way to renewable energy.
That should be the agenda of the new President],” Poe said.
She added that she also wants to make sure that power becomes more affordable to Filipinos, who are paying one of the highest electricity rates in the world.
“Kung maraming supply, mas mababa ang singil. Kaya sisiguraduhin ko na maraming supply para hindi tayo nagbabayad ng napakataas para sa kuryente [If supply is sufficient, the cost will be lower. So I will make sure that we will have ample supply and we will not pay such high prices for power],” the senator said.