EDC asks govt not to rely on coal plants

by Alena Mae S. Flores – December 14, 2016 at 08:45 pm

from Manila Standard Today

Energy Development Corp. asked the government to support the development of more geothermal projects.

EDC president and chief operating officer Richard Tantoco said the government should look at geothermal energy to support economic growth.

Tantoco said in a statement the country could not depend on coal-fired power plants for stable prices because coal was no longer a cheap fuel and its pricing became erratic.

He said  Indonesian coal climbed from $44 a metric ton in February to $110 per ton a few weeks ago.

Tantoco said there was a risk of relying heavily on a single fuel source, given supply shortages or sharp price increases in the market.

“Even if it [coal] stabilizes into 80 [dollars per metric ton], it doesn’t mean ‘cheap’ energy is there to stay. That’s why we’re pushing very hard for geothermal to happen; because if you make it happen, it provides stable, base load, and clean energy,” he said.

Tantoco said EDC’s focus on developing geothermal and other renewable energy sources reflected the company’s recognition of the need to lessen the build-up in the atmosphere of more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that were blamed for global warming and climate change.

Geothermal, an indigenous energy source, also helps the government save on foreign exchange that otherwise would pay for imported fuel sources like coal, he said.

Tantoco  said even if the Philippines contributed a minimal amount of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, this might have a huge impact because of the country’s vulnerability to climate-change related disasters.

The EDC official cited a 10-year study conducted by a European group which showed the Philippines suffered 320 weather loss-related events over a 10-year period.

“Every single ton of carbon we throw out to the atmosphere is detrimental…It’s not the people who trade in the stock exchange who are going to get affected; it’s the poorest of the poor. So we have to work hand in hand to de-carbonize the energy sector,” Tantoco said.