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DOE: No ban on coal until Philippines attains energy security

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star
DOE: No ban on coal until Philippines attains energy security
DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the agency would not close its doors to coal power projects as it has adopted a technology neutral policy to build the country’s capacity to ensure affordable, adequate and reliable power supply while sustaining economic growth.
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MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Energy (DOE) will not implement a moratorium on coal power plant developments until the country meets its goal of attaining energy security.

DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the agency would not close its doors to coal power projects as it has adopted a technology neutral policy to build the country’s capacity to ensure affordable, adequate and reliable power supply while sustaining economic growth.

“The Philippines, in the (Energy) Trilemma Index (of the World Energy Council), is number one in environment sustainability,  energy security and accessibility. These are the areas we need to improve,” he said.

“Coal still serves a purpose for our baseload (requirements). And we are pushing for nuclear as an option,” the energy chief said.

Therefore, no moratorium would be put in place against coal power plants, Cusi said.

“A moratorium on any tech might be a disservice to our energy security,” he said, noting applications to build coal plants would depend on the capacity needed by the country.

Meanwhile, consumer group Murang Kuryente slammed the DOE’s ‘technology-neutral’ policy which ruled out a moratorium on the construction of coal-fired power plants in the country.

“Secretary Cusi’s remarks betray a parochial mentality that focuses on megawatts produced while dooming consumers to paying more for unreliable and polluting energy,” Murang Kuryente spokesperson Gerry Arances said.

The group also said the DOE’s policy runs counter to the spirit of the directive issued by President  Duterte in his State of the Nation Address (SONA).

During his latest SONA, President Duterte issued a directive calling for the reduction of the country’s dependence on coal for power generation with more gas and renewables.

“You cannot divorce the economic, social, and environmental effect of any technology from its output,” Arances said.

According to Murang Kuryente, the Philippines is one of the few countries in the world that insists in constructing new coal-fired power plants despite a global trend to halt their continued use.

“Coal makes consumer pay more in their electric bills, makes them sick, and destroys the environment. Renewable energy should not even be an alternative, but rather the first choice in our energy policy,” Arances said.

COAL POWER PLANT DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
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