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Philippines sees gas and renewables as key in new energy plan

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A new proposed energy plan is expected to create a bigger role for gas, renewables and geothermal in the future energy mix of the country, decreasing the current dependency on coal.

A new energy plan for the Philippines is expected to make the country less dependent on coal fuelled power generation in its energy mix in the future.

The plan could see the Philippines generating a third of its electricity each from natural gas, coal and renewables between 2016 and 2040, Loreta G. Ayson, undersecretary at the Department of Energy said. Ayson said the energy department was finalizing a fuel mix policy that pushed for an increased share of cleaner fuels, hoping the successor of President Benigno S. Aquino III, who will step down next June, will support it.

“Right now, we’re heavily dependent on coal for power generation. If we continue (at current rates of coal power expansion), we will be 70-percent dependent on coal by 2040-2050,” she told Reuters on the sidelines of the Singapore International Energy Week. “That means we really have to do something about it in consideration of our concern for climate change.”

The Philippines currently generates 42.5 percent of its electricity from coal, with that share likely to increase in the short-term as projects that will boost coal-fired power capacity by more than 25 percent in just three years are already in place.

Investments in power generation from clean fuels such as gas and renewables have lagged coal as the latter is cheaper and quicker to build to meet growing electricity demand in the Philippines.

“There’s nothing we can do to stop (projects that have already been approved), so by all means they have to go, they have to proceed,” Ayson said.

“When we have the fuel mix policy, we can be more discriminating when approving service contracts after 2020.”

About a quarter of Philippines’ power comes from natural gas produced at the giant Malampaya field and 26 percent comes from renewable sources geothermal and hydro energy. The country is the second largest geothermal power producer in the world after the United States.

“By 2024, our Malampaya gas will be depleted so we just have to find another gas source or hopefully we will have another gas find in the Philippines,” Ayson said.

Still, projects to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) have been delayed.

Source: Manila Bulletin

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