PH could increase coal dependence to 80% by 2030

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With 11, 500 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired power projects still lined up, the Philippines’ coal dependence could increase to as much as 80 percent by 2030, global analytics firm IHS said.

Think thank Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) said this is expected to expand  with 4, 600 MW of committed projects and 6, 900 MW of indicative coal-fired power plants lined up.

As of June, 33 percent or 6, 666 MW of the country’s electricity supply comes from coal-fired power plants, data from the Department of Energy showed.

The Philippine government should prioritize formulating an energy mix policy as coal prices turned unstable this year, an industry official said.

“Prices of coal have more than doubled between January and October this year. Such price volatility should give us reason to pause and think of other fuels we can use to protect consumers from erratic fuel price movements. One solution is to cap the share of specific fuels we use to generate our electricity,” First Gen president and COO Francis Giles Puno said.

Though coal has contributed largely to the country’s energy mix, its dominance will not be good for the economy, Puno said.

Based on the benchmark Newcastle, coal prices traded as low as $49 per metric ton (MT) at the start of the year, but increased to as much as $108 in late October.

“Coal’s volatility would expose consumers, including business establishments, to drastic and unpredictable changes in their power bills. Households and businesses would find it challenging to budget and manage their expenses,” Puno said.

The DOE is looking at sourcing 65 percent from baseload plants like coal, natural gas, nuclear and hydropower; 25 percent from mid-merit plants, and 10 percent from peaking plants.

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