Environmental group Greenpeace on Wednesday welcomed the Philippines’ moratorium on new coal plants but underscored that it will only go well if the country transitions to renewable energy (RE).
While they welcomed the declaration of the Department of Energy (DOE), Greenpeace campaigner Khevin Yu said “this is only a small step.”
“To ensure the country’s rapid transition to renewable energy, the DOE must take this further by enacting a permanent moratorium that includes not just coal but also gas projects in the pipeline, and jumpstart a phase out plan for existing coal and other fossil fuel facilities,” Yu said.
“While we are holding Secretary (Alfonso) Cusi to his commitment to promote RE, we also express our dismay on the decision to allow 100 percent foreign ownership of geothermal projects,” he stressed.
Yu pointed out that geothermal projects must be approached with extreme caution due to their impacts on communities and ecosystems.
Data from a recent Greenpeace report shows that the Philippines can easily achieve 50 percent RE power generation by 2030 solely through solar and wind capacity.
“To enable this to happen, the DOE must support their declaration with concrete policy measures such as removing financial incentives for coal and other fossil fuel power projects, imposing higher coal taxes to pressure energy companies to divest from existing and proposed coal projects, and removing nuclear projects from all energy plans,” Yu said.
“We believe the DOE’s announcement is also a strong signal to coal investors as well as financial institutions that fossil fuels are a losing proposition. Major players in both distribution and energy generation must yield to this policy shift and start redirecting all their investments and commit to ambitious and timebound RE targets,” he added.
Greenpeace expressed its willingness to work with DOE in ensuring that the country is on track toward achieving 100 percent RE.