posted May 11, 2016 at 11:10 pm by Alena Mae S. Flores
Power producer First Gen Corp. asked the government to increase the share of renewable energy in the country’s power generation mix to 50 percent to counter the damaging effects of climate change.
First Gen chairman Federico Lopez said the remaining 50 percent of the generation mix could be shared by other sources including low-carbon emission power projects.
Lopez said the Philippines performed a crucial role in the recent COP 21 climate talks in Paris, chairing the Climate Vulnerable Forum an international partnership of countries highly vulnerable to climate change, and the V20−the group of finance ministers representing twenty of the most vulnerable nations in the world.
Both the CVF and the V20 provided the much-needed emotional plea for a decarbonized world. He said although the agreements reached in Paris were dramatic, they were still not enough.
“The world is still in dire need of more such powerful voices to turn the tide in time to avert a global catastrophe. Sadly, however, our credibility was built on the backs of thousands of Filipino lives, homes and livelihoods that have already been lost and destroyed by climate change. The power of that voice grows only if we show the will to decarbonize our own economy. Conversely, that power dies when our actions are not consistent with that voice,” Lopez said.
Lopez said he was sad to hear the reasoning from the business sector and the power industry that because the Philippines was responsible for only 0.3 percent of global carbon emissions, “we have the right to continue building more coal-fired power plants.”
He said this thinking of putting up more coal plants to lower power costs and create most jobs and catch up with other industrialized countries was outdated.
“However, given what we know about global climate today, that assertion is downright thoughtless and unconscionable. Every ton of carbon spewed into the air reverberates onto millions of vulnerable Filipino lives with an impact that’s disproportionate with the rest of the world,” he said.
“Meeting the economy’s power demand with more coal-fired plants today means locking-in those high-carbon emissions for decades. And more time wasted changing course will only mean more lives lost, devastated, and more of our world vanishing, never to be recaptured again,” he said.
He said a business-as-usual scenario “is a sure road to disaster.”
“These are extraordinary times that call for extraordinary change and everyone must shift to thinking about the fastest route to a decarbonized economy. It is our aim that First Gen, and its subsidiary companies, will be among the bright navigating stars of the Philippine energy industry, blazing a path toward a decarbonized economy. It will not be easy and we will have to explore many roads not taken but this is where opportunities will be created and won,” he said.
Lopez said geothermal energy was only one among the renewable energy technologies capable of baseload operation today.
“For RE technologies, this is the holy grail. But assuring its place in a low-carbon world means continually driving costs down, breaking away from complacency and constantly innovating our way towards a more competitive future. EDC must be laser-focused on innovation if it wants to assure a place for geothermal energy in the new energy paradigm that’s evolving here and abroad,” he said.
First Gen has a total capacity of 3,000 megawatts of clean energy sources.