Why PH is banning new coal-powered energy projects but keeping the approved ones?

Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann. Unsplash.

With the adverse effects of climate change becoming more prevalent in the country, the Philippines is now banning new coal-powered energy projects in a bid to pursue a green future without compromising the economy.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has imposed a moratorium on new coal-based power plant projects.

While some may assume that the DOE made the move due to the constant criticisms coming from affected communities and groups concerned about carbon emissions, the agency did it in line with country’s ultimate goal of achieving energy growth and security.

DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi said that the moratorium would help the Philippines achieve its target while being grounded in the changes of demand and flexible enough to embrace cleaner and cost-effective energy innovations.

While the agency is banning new coal-based energy projects, it is not shutting down projects that are already running or the ones that have been approved.

This is fair enough, as coal accounts for nearly half of the Philippines’ energy. Coal is cheap and provides sufficient energy to meet the minimum demand for electricity to power the archipelago throughout the day.

The coal consumption of the country’s energy sector was 2.55 million metric tons in 2019 and 26.101 million metric tons in 2018, according to DOE.

The country’s energy industry is not developing enough partly due to the resounding ‘no’ from communities and inflexible distribution system, among others.

There haven’t been any coal-powered energy projects constructed since 2017 and there is also a lack of renewable energy investment in the country despite the Renewable Energy Act in 2008.

Remaining as a coal-dependent country, the Philippines and its energy sector is expected to rise around 53% by ten years once the 22 approved power plants go live.