‘Philippines coal supply enough until 2030’

Brix Lelis - The Philippine Star
�Philippines coal supply enough until 2030�
Raphael Perpetuo Lotilla.
pna.gov.ph / Contributed photo

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s existing coal-fired power plants are sufficient to ensure enough base load capacity in the next six years, Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla said.

Lotilla made this comment during the Power Summit 2024, organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“We do not set aside our responsibility to ensure adequate base load capacities in conjunction with our push to increase (renewable energy) share in the power mix,” he said.

The Philippines has over 6,300 megawatts (MW) of dependable coal capacity aged 10 years or younger, which can operate for at least another 30 years, Department of Energy (DOE) data showed.

More than 4,700 MW of dependable coal capacities are between 11 and 30 years old, while 592 MW are 36 years and older.

“We are prepared for the various scenarios of the energy transition, and the relatively young age of these coal plants helps ensure that we will have enough base load capacity through 2030,” Lotilla said.

He emphasized that maximizing the utilization of these existing energy facilities would avoid placing an added cost burden on both the economy and consumers.

According to the energy chief, the country’s economy is over dependent on imported coal, noting that 83 percent of the country’ coal supply was imported last year.

This, he said, has exposed the vulnerability of the Philippines and “started a mad scramble for alternative sources.”

“Our indigenous coal, which has a lower calorific content, cannot meet the requirements of our coal-fired power plants,” he said.

Lotilla also underscored the need to diversify electricity sources, particularly indigenous ones, to ensure the country’s energy security and sustainability.

“While there is an existing moratorium on building coal-fired power plants, there are also exemptions for committed, indicative and expansion plans,” he said.

He said that it was not the moratorium that discouraged the development of coal plants but the market itself.

“The scarcity of financing, higher insurance costs and the risks of carbon taxes and carbon pricing have deterred new coal projects,” Lotilla added.

The DOE has implemented a coal moratorium since October 2020, barring the processing of applications for greenfield coal-fired power generation facility projects requesting endorsements.

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