DOE excludes expansion projects in coal moratorium
In a moratorium, effective October 27, 2020, in which advisory was dated December 22, 20202 but was only released January 11, 2021, the Department of Energy (DOE) firmed up the exclusion of the existing generating facilities with definitive expansion plans from the coverage of the coal moratorium policy.
Besides expansion projects, also exempted from the prohibited coal plant investments are the following: a) indicative power projects with substantial accomplishments on permitting and b) committed power projects.
For those that could still be implemented: with approved permits or resolutions from local government units (LGUs) and the Regional Development Council where the power plants will be located; and with signed and notarized acquisition of land or lease agreement for the project.
According to the Philippine Energy Plan (PEP), in the next 20 years, it is still expecting 9,550 megawatts of capacity addition from coal plants to support the country’s need for baseload power.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said that the policy is being enforced so that the Philippines could expand the share of renewables in energy. Aside from that, the chief would also like to give space for the promotion of more novelty technologies - and raise the flexibility of technology utilisation in the power system.
The goal of the shift to cleaner sources of energy is to help alleviate the effect of global warming.
For the past ten years, the DOE said that 66 per cent of the power capacity of the country comes from coal plants - with solar capacity at 10 per cent for 920MW; diesel plants at 7 per cent for 657MW; natural gas at 6 per cent for 582MW; and wind plants at 4 per cent for 394MW.
During the pandemic, the DOE said that there have been challenges “with the sudden electricity demand reduction and the affected sustained operation of the baseload power plants, and that “there is a need to shift to a more flexible power supply mix to have a more sustainable power system that will be resilient in any structural changes in demand and will be flexible enough to accommodate the entry of new and cleaner technologies.”