Lopez-led Energy Development Corporation (EDC) is encouraging the government to support the development of more geothermal projects in the country as the clean and renewable energy source has a stable cost and supply, a company official said.
The Philippines cannot depend on coal-fired power plants alone for a stable price as coal is not a cheap power plant fuel anymore, EDC president and COO Richard B. Tantoco said.
“Indonesian coal was US$44 a metric ton in February and just a couple of weeks ago it reached US$110 [per metric ton]. So, what does that mean for the Filipino consumers, going out to the future?” Tantoco said.
The EDC official said depending on a single fuel source is risky because of possible supply shortage and sharp increases that may cause consumers to suffer.
“Even if it [coal] stabilizes into 80 [dollars per metric ton] it doesn’t mean ‘cheap’ energy is there to stay. That’s why we’re pushing very hard for geothermal to happen; because if you make it happen, it provides stable, baseload, and clean energy,” he added.
In 2015, the Philippines has agreed to cut down its carbon emissions by 70% come 2030 under the Paris Agreement on climate change.
However, President Rodrigo Duterte said the country needs cheap energy, like coal, in enticing investors in the country.
“Coal, it’s the cheapest and probably if we use the modern technology, it’s the safest. Just be careful with the operation,” the president said.
Tantoco said for the Philippines, being one of the most vulnerable to climate change-related disasters, a small amount of carbon dioxide ‘contributed’ into the atmosphere will greatly affect the nation.
“Every single ton of carbon we throw out to the atmosphere is detrimental…It’s not the people who trade in the stock exchange who are going to get affected; it’s the poorest of the poor. So we have to work hand in hand to de-carbonize the energy sector,” Tantoco said.
He added that EDC is willing to work with the government in developing clean and renewable energy source will not aggravate the country’s vulnerability to disasters caused by climate change.
“We are pushing for geothermal energy because it’s stable and clean. We are also developing more solar projects,” Tantoco said.
EDC is the country’s largest geothermal energy producer and the renewable energy arm of First Gen Corporation.