Lopez Group drops coal plants

by Jenniffer B. Austria –  May 23, 2016 at 11:30 pm

from Manila Standard Today

First Philippine Holdings Corp. declared the group, along with unit First Gen Corp., would not invest in coal-fired power plants and called for a decarbonized economy.

FPH chairman and chief executive Federico Lopez made the announcement during the annual stockholders’ meeting of the company as he stressed the negative effect of emissions from coal-fired power plants in the environment.

“We are setting a higher bar for ourselves but, for us, it cannot be any other way. We will help power our nation’s growth ambitions yet achieve this in ways that recognize the need for a livable Philippines and a livable planet,” Lopez said.

“Today, let me state unequivocally and for the record that the FPH ad its subsidiaries will not build, develop of invest in any coal-fired power plant. I’m certain that without having to look too far, this country already has many alternatives that do not mortgage the future of our children and future of our planet,” Lopez added.

Instead of building coal-fired power plants, Lopez said the Lopez Group would push with the development of geothermal power plants, as well as renewable energy sources like wind, solar and hydro.

“It is our aim that FPH and its subsidiaries will be among the bright navigating starts of the Philippine industry, blazing a path toward a decarbonized economy,” he said.

Lopez noted that some countrieshad already committed to do away with coal-fired power plants. Several top corporations were also “greening” their supply chains, he said.

“These are extraordinary times that call for extraordinary change and everyone must shift to thinking about the quickest route to a decarbonized economy. It’s just our mindsets and our conversation that need to be transformed” Lopez said.

He said the company’s declaration against invest in coal-fired power plants would affect the company’s business prospects moving forward.

“It just a matter of shifting our focus elsewhere. It is quite liberating because we are going where the rest of the world is headed and for me it is important for the country to embrace this,” Lopez said.

First Gen earlier 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.

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.

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