Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary Regina Lopez has set a review of the country’s coal-fired power plants’ permits and operations.
Lopez said the review is necessary to check and assure that these plants pose no danger to the environment.
“I am not keen on limiting the country’s energy mix on coal alone,” she said.
The energy secretary said that the country will move in the direction where renewable energy will be used as baseload power under her term, citing examples like Europe and the United States who use renewable energy sources as their baseload power.
DENR undersecretary Nicholas Perlas suggested that companies with coal plants should invest more in renewables but should still undergo a legal process.
“It is part of the due process. My task is to have a stakeholder consultation in the entire country,” he said.
DENR is also considering the “business side” of the equity in energy sources as they are currently speaking to big companies. The DENR undersecretary said that they are not “anti-business” to big companies.
“We’re not anti-business, but this business have been violating environment for a long time… so we’re giving them a chance to really say something,” he said.
Perlas also said there are more renewables that will address the energy problem and some base plants are relatively easy to set up and with lower capital expenditure.
When asked about renewables being unreliable due to its vulnerability to climate change, Perlas said, “That’s also true for coal plants. The coal is an old technology and even the clean coal is problematic because they do not show the lower microns that are being emitted that can enter to the skin, the micro particle.”
He asked the DENR research team to consider testing the Tesla and SolarCity of Elon Musk which opens a source of patents and bring it to view by the Filipino entrepreneurs.
“They will be the next big corporation in the Philippines, if they have it. So we just have to stay abreast with science and technology that’s developing like crazy. You cannot be isolated from global development and rely on old technologies,” he said.