by BusinessWorld, 27 Oct 2021
SENATOR Sherwin T. Gatchalian, who chairs his chamber’s energy committee, said the updated Philippine Energy Plan (PEP) is not sufficient to meet the Philippines’ nationally determined contributions (NDCs) for keeping climate change in check.
“It’s unfortunate that PEP is not harmonized with NDCs. We’re flagging both the CCC (Climate Change Commission) and the DoE (Department of Energy) to put that harmonization together so that the (allocation of) resources and (future) generation mix are linked to how we will reduce our GHG (greenhouse gases) as per our commitments to the Paris Agreement,” he said in a virtual briefing Wednesday.
NDCs are a feature of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, a legally-binding treaty which aims to limit the global temperature rise to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius.
According to Mr. Gatchalian, there is a need to integrate the climate commitments into the PEP in order for greenhouse gas emission targets to be coherent.
The PEP, which was recently published by the Energy department, said it aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 12% by 2040 in order to meet the NDCs under a clean-energy scenario.
In another webinar Wednesday, World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines Head of Climate Change and Energy Angela Consuelo S. Ibay said that the PEP should have set firm targets.
The plan has set an “aspirational” target of a 35% renewable energy share in the power generation mix by 2030 and more than 50% share by 2040.
“They just mentioned an aspirational target. It should be hard-coded instead,” Ms. Ibay said.
The updated PEP covers the 2020 to 2040 period.
“Personally, I’m quite bullish with geothermal because any way of minimizing imports of coal and potential natural gas in the future should be pursued,” Mr. Gatchalian said Wednesday.
He was one of the speakers at the 2nd Philippine International Geothermal Conference.
Mr. Gatchalian noted that geothermal development requires significant outlays for exploration, which can discourage potential investors.
“We know that exploring… is quite risky and the risk involved there is actually a disincentive for proponents for further explore potential areas,” he said.
As a result, he is studying the possibility of setting up a geothermal fund which will allow the public and private sectors to share the risk of developing such projects.
“(This geothermal fund) encourages the private sector to explore more and to look (in) different areas,” he said.
Citing DoF data, Mr. Gatchalian said that the Philippines is projected to supplement its geothermal capacity by more than 800 megawatts, according to renewable energy contracts issued by the government as of May 2020.
Last year, geothermal power plants accounted for around 11% of aggregate electricity output. — Angelica Y. Yang