Clean energy advocates have called on government to include the power sector in the recovery plan from the impact of the new coronavirus disease 2019.
Gerry Arances, convenor of Power for People Coalition, said in a statement, said despite gains in the implementation of the Renewable Energy Law, there are 21 coal projects in the pipeline, indicating the administration’s failure to really advance renewables and end reliance on coal and other fossil fuels.
Arances said the pandemic revealed problems in a power sector characterized by privatization, competition and deregulation as enabled by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act which must be resolved by the government soon.
Gia Ibay, climate change and energy program head of WWF Philippines, said recovery plans must seek to rebuild the economy and strengthen its resilience to future crises. They must also address the problems of rising costs of living and widespread loss of jobs.
“Renewable energy, especially in the form of microgrids and energy efficiency measures offer solutions to these. In urban centers, it could provide cheap electricity while creating more job opportunities than fossil fuel industries can ever offer. Because it can be designed to adapt to any terrain, microgrids can also power far-flung communities and address the decades-old problem of 100 percent electrification,” Ibay said.
The Center for Energy, Ecology and Development said the country has more coal power plants in the pipeline and a resurgence of air pollution brought about by increased activity as the quarantine is relaxed.
Yet, the group said, the President could only talk about Boracay.
“Air quality is another problem that is all the more pressing as our health care systems are overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases,” said Avril De Torres, the group’s research, policy and law program head.
Arances also criticized the government for its continued push for the inclusion of nuclear power to the country’s energy mix.
“We are dismayed at the casual disregard for the risks of nuclear power to a country like the Philippines, vulnerable as it is to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and the threat of climate change,” he said.