ADB to stop financing new coal power plants

masinloc coal plant

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said it will stop financing new coal power plants in the region under a proposed energy policy released last Friday (May 7).

The ADB, which gives loans and grants to the poorest nations in Asia and the Pacific, cited that its current policy was “no longer adequately aligned with the global consensus on climate change.”

“Coal and other fossil fuels have played a large part in ensuring access to energy for the region’s economic development, but they have not solved the energy access challenge, and their use harms the environment and accelerates climate change,” the Ortigas-based multilateral bank said in the document.

The ADB will likewise no longer fund “any coal mining, oil and natural gas field exploration, drilling or extraction activities.” However, it still would provide funds for natural gas projects and “hybrid electricity solutions” involving fossil fuels as backup systems under certain conditions.

From 2009-2019, the ADB funded $42.5 billion into energy sector projects in Asia, around 60% of which are coal-related.

The final version of the policy is expected to be submitted to the ADB board of directors this October.

Among the local coal plants that the ADB financed in the past were the Masinloc power plant in Zambales and the Calaca power plant in Batangas. Both facilities, once assets of the National Power Corporation, were eventually purchased, respectively, by San Miguel Corporation’s SMC Global Power Holdings and Consunji-led Semirara Mining and Power Corporation.

Back in October 2020, the Department of Energy (DOE) began imposing a moratorium on the building of new coal power plants in the country. However, those that have been already committed and existing plants with expansion plans are exempted.

Based on data from the DOE, 41.5% of the country’s power supply comes from coal plants as of June 2020. With the moratorium and the government’s push for more renewable energy ventures, coal’s share in the country’s energy mix is projected to shrink to 16% by 2030.

The DOE has likewise approved Notices to Proceed for the development of liquefied natural gas import terminals in Batangas ahead of the expected depletion of the Malampaya gas field’s resources in the next few years. Malampaya, the Philippines’ only major source of indigenous fuel, supplies a fifth of the country’s electricity needs.

 

Photo from the ADB website.

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