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Climate and Environment

Marcos pushes for gas, nuclear development alongside renewables

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Marcos pushes for gas, nuclear development alongside renewables
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr delivers his first State of the Nation address at the House of Representatives in Quezon City, suburban Manila on July 25, 2022.
AFP/Pool/Aaron Favila

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. reiterated Monday the need to adopt nuclear and develop fossil gas—two energy sources that groups say will impede the transition to renewable energy and threaten host communities.

In his first State of the Nation Address, Marcos stressed that increasing the use of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydropower, and geothermal power is “at the top of our climate agenda.”

But in the same speech, the chief executive also spoke about the development of new power plants and the use of natural gas—or fossil gas—as other energy sources alongside renewables.

"Nuclear and fossil gas should be out of the picture today; it’s hypocritical to talk about addressing the climate crisis while prioritizing dangerous energy sources,” Greenpeace Philippines campaigner Khevin Yu said. 

Marcos called on Congress to enact a law seeking to foster the midstream natural gas industry “by diversifying the country’s primary sources of energy and promoting the role of natural gas as a complementary fuel to variable renewable energy.”

"We will provide investment incentives by clarifying the uncertain policy in upstream gas, particularly in the area close to Malampaya," Marcos added, referring to the deep water gas-to-gas power project in Palawan.

The Philippines is currently scaling up the development of infrastructure that will support the import of liquefied natural gas. The proposed LNG plants and terminals threaten the marine frontiers where these projects will be built, such as the Verde Island Passage, and the coastal communities that depend on these waters.

Natural gas has been pitched as a “bridge fuel” that can help the shift to a lower-carbon economy. Climate and energy campaigners, however, say that fossil gas produces potent greenhouse gas methane, and blocks the transition to cleaner and cheaper sources of energy.

Nuclear strategy

Marcos also reiterated his determination to adopt nuclear power, saying “it is time to re-examine our strategy towards building nuclear power plants.”

The chief executive said the government will comply with the regulations of the International Atomic Energy Agency for nuclear power plants and mentioned technologies that allow smaller scale modular nuclear plants and other derivations.

"Once again, PPPs will play a part in support as funding in this period is limited," he said.

During the election campaign, Marcos said the country should look into reviving his father’s venture—the 621-megawatt Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, which was mothballed in 1986 because of safety concerns.

In a statement, Power for People Coalition said that Marcos’ energy plans are at odds with what he promises. It also criticized the lack of actual plans for the development of renewable energy.

“Marcos was on point on renewable energy as a priority both for lowering costs and transition, but his plans were distracted and unsound with his push for LNG and nuclear,” P4P convenor Gerry Arances said.

“However, the more we invest in imported, expensive, capital-intensive gas-powered facilities, the harder it becomes to discard them, essentially locking us into using gas instead of moving forward to renewable energy. And the more we rely on fossil fuels, the more consumers suffer during times of high prices in the world market, as we are experiencing now,” he added. 


 

FERDINAND MARCOS JR

LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS

NUCLEAR ENERGY

RENEWABLE ENERGY

SONA 2022

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