On the exit of coal: not in our lifetime?

OPINION
By RUFFY MAGBANUA
October 7, 2019

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WITH Germany’s recent announcement to close its 84 coal power plants by 2038, is our country ready to follow suit?
To date, some 20 coal-fired power plants are operating in the country today. Yet, some of the developed countries like Germany are slowly getting away  from the use of coal.
No other country burns excessive coal as Germany. Around a quarter of German electricity comes from the carbon-heavy fuel, also known as brown coal.  Coal is cheap,  mined domestically and  responsible for around 20 percent of  Germany's greenhouse gas emissions.

If Germany is dead serious about its target of cutting  emissions to half what they were in 1990 by 2038, dirty coal has to go.
That said, the  Movement for Blackout-free Mindanao is sending this distress call  to President Duterte:  stop building coal-fired power plants  under your watch.  Enough with the existing coal plants, and shift on the use of renewable energy as early as now.
We badly need your intercession  to address with a sense of urgency the country’s power headache by presenting renewable power solutions acceptable to the people.
You promised us about the changes we fought side by side  during the campaign, and one of those was to provide sufficient, adequate, sustainable, environment-driven  and reliable power supply for the country’s inclusive growth.
But to address the country’s power lack  through the  dumping  of coal plants all over the islands is another story and something we are dead serious about.
We feel worried about what this coal would  bring as far as protecting our people from the discord of environmental collapse.
 Fact is,   there are new coal-fired power plants being built right now in Mindanao and elsewhere in the country, some are already in, while others are in the pipeline.  
Given this development, these coal plants would definitely translate into additional capacities the island would need to meet its growing demand in the next five years and beyond.  But in this case, power consumers would have   to pay the price of development:  toxic emissions and greenhouse gases.
Now, we  would like to invite the President to take a pause and  think for a moment. Do we really need these coal-fired  power plants?


We the Movement for a Blackout-free Mindanao, as volunteer watchdog for the efficient and uninterrupted delivery of electricity support this move of ridding the country free from dirty coal unconditionally
A win-win solution is what it takes to strike a sustainable, efficient and environment-driven power supply for the country.  
The previous administration had been working on a 30-30-30 fuel mix goal to reduce the country’s coal dependence. The remaining 10 per cent comes from oil-based power plants.                
The country’s energy  policy is primarily focused on sourcing out about  30 per cent of its energy requirements from coal, 30 per cent  from renewable energy, and another 30 per cent  from natural gas.
Energy sources has revealed that 70 per cent  of the 5,000 megawatts (MW) of power-generating capacity that are being built and will be built until 2020 are coal-based.
  Environmentalists  had openly opposed for the use of coal, it being tagged as “dirty energy” because of its toxic emissions.   
The use of fossil fuels like coal as an energy source is the number one driver of global warming being a top emitter of greenhouse gases.
We are all aware that the cheapest of all fossil fuels is natural gas, and this kind of power source is aplenty  elsewhere in the country.  Why have  we not tapped fully the geothermal sources of electric power?
Power consumers  deserve the full attention of the government. (ruffy44_ph2000@yahoo.com). Ruffy Magbanua is chair of the Movement for a Blackout-free Mindanao, a volunteer watchdog for the efficient and uninterrupted delivery of power sourced out from renewable energy.


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