Developing nations who feel the need to industrialize face the challenge of doing so while cutting back on their emissions. A possible asset to the country’s dilemma on sufficient energy is said to be ultra-superficial coal. However, many critics contend the idea of clean coal and call this “a lie.”
In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Duterte acknowledged the possible benefits of clean coal technology such as USC to improve the country’s industrialization.
“Let us be very clear on this: We need to industrialize. We need the power and, therefore, the emissions would also be considered,” Duterte said. “If you’re using the state of the art technology and I’ve seen it several times in the other power plants in this country, if it is really a good one, then we will consider it, I said, because we need the energy to power our industrialization,” he said.
The Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) was alarmed by Duterte’s statement.
A statement released by the group read, “We are also alarmed by the President’s reference to ‘clean coal.’ Is President Duterte falling for this dirty lie, this outdated and false information that coal is cheap? The cost of coal is more than the financial cost of mining coal and building and running coal plants.”
The group added that even the “most state of the art in coal energy technology has huge harmful consequences to people’s health and [the] environment.”
The PMCJ cited the John W. Tuck Jr power plant in Arkansas, a 600 MW plant that emits 3.4 million tons of greenhouse gases annually, making it the fifth biggest source of pollution in the United States.
However, GE Steam Power Systems senior sales executive for Asia Pacific Massimo Gallizioli said that USC power plants require less coal per megawatt-hour, which could mean higher efficiency, lower fuel costs per megawatt, and lower emissions including carbon dioxide and mercury emissions.
Data from the Department of Energy said that coal plants provide about 6,500 MW of energy or 33 percent of the 19, 861 MW total installed capacity. Coal has the second largest share in the country’s power mix.