DENR secretary suspends four mining firms

Although coal supplied over 40% of the country’s electric output in 2015, Department of Energy and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Regina Lopez said renewable energy is a priority over fossil fuels in permit approvals for power plants.

The DENR Secretary told Bloomberg on Thursday that the Philippines should invest in renewable energy like wind, solar and geothermal to minimize emissions.

“Why allow more coal plants? Why commit to a form of energy that has no future?” Lopez told Bloomberg. “I’m not keen on it. I’d have to be very convinced.”

Lopez said in the interview that her family ties to renewable energy companies don’t affect her views on fossil fuel plants. She said her decisions will be made in consultation with the Energy department.

The Lopez group of companies owns renewable power plants FG Hyrdo Power Corporation, FG Bukidnon Power Corp, and the Energy Development Corporation.

Just a week after being sworn in office, Lopez suspended four mining firms after being issued a “Writ of Kalikasan” from the Supreme Court.

In recent reports, Energy secretary Alfonso Cusi has said that coal cannot just be discounted from the energy mix. In his oath taking as the DOE secretary, he said he would talk with Lopez in achieving “a healthy balance of coal and renewable energy.”