Abundance of coal to negate efforts on reducing energy costs, group says
January 23, 2019
QUEZON CITY – An energy think tank is alarmed over the sheer number of major coal projects to go online this 2019, saying that coal threatens to raise electricity costs for the next ten to twenty years, on top of its negative effects on the environment and climate.
The Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED), one of the convening organizations of the Power for People Coalition, expressed concern as the abundance of coal "will undermine any current attempt to reduce the cost of electricity for ordinary consumers."
"Despite the global push to reduce carbon emissions and shift to renewables, 81% of major projects to go online for 2019 in the Philippines are to be sourced from coal, amounting to almost 3,500 MW of dirty and costly energy," said CEED Executive Director Gerry Arances.
"As early as 2017, it has been reported that all proposed and committed coal plants are projected to become stranded assets, with many plants currently in operation already in various stages of stranding," Arances continued. "It is ironic that after years of consumers paying for stranded debts and contract costs of the National Power Corporation, we are on the verge of replicating the same problem with the current onslaught of coal projects in the pipeline," he said.
Arances said that the foreseen devaluation of coal projects will be shouldered by consumers, who will end up paying for the projects' contract costs.
"As many as four bills are in the present legislative agenda aiming to decrease the costs of electricity," Arances said. "But we run the risk of being blindsided by hidden and externalized costs in pending coal projects if they are left unhindered."