First Gen-owned Energy Development Corporation (EDC) is reinforcing call on policy leaders to accelerate the phase out of coal plants, similar to what is happening in other parts of the world.
That call is in line with the world’s target to limit planet warming to 1.5 degrees as instituted in the Paris climate agreement, which is now complemented with the ‘net zero goal’ of countries and businesses through 2050 — the pathway being cast for this year’s Conference of the Parties (COP) 26 summit in Scotland.
EDC President and COO Richard B. Tantoco narrated that in May this year, the G-7 countries or the world’s seven largest advanced economies already “agreed to stop funding coal projects that emit carbon by the end of this year and to phase out support for all fossil fuels to meet globally agreed climate change targets.”
The lenders that had committed to coal phase out starting year 2020, according to Tantoco, include the International Finance Corporation, Asian Development Bank, Allianz Global Investors, export credit agencies, Japan Bank for International Cooperation, and over 100 significant financial institutions.
“More global banks, insurers, pension funds, asset managers are expected to have new or expanded coal policies as demands rise and the world continues to heat up,” Tantoco stressed.
The EDC executive emphasized that “without funding, coal companies will then have no choice but to transition to renewable energy if they want to stay in business.”
He highlighted that to support companies and investors through the energy transition process, “funds are already on the drawing board to buy out the coal plants and shut them down much sooner than the planned investment horizon of 30 years.”
The Philippines, he said, is also tracking its way into that direction –and that was clearly manifested when the Department of Energy (DOE) put a moratorium on new coal projects last September 2020 “to emphasize its commitment to decarbonize our country.”
In the policy decreed by the energy department though, it will still allow coal plant projects that are already pending for implementation; and it may still provide leeway for new coal plants as long as they will utilize super critical to ultra super critical boiler technologies.
The Department of Finance (DOF) similarly laid down plans to ‘buy out’ older coal plants in Mindanao, but there is no clear policy direction yet how the capacities of these coal plants will be replaced with RE installations.
Tantoco cited that the biggest enablers to decarbonization of businesses would be technology and financing – and these are now within reach of countries as well as corporates or organizations intending to concretize their net zero goals.
“Digital technologies are the key to decarbonizing various industries. For instance, we realize that having zoom meetings, which inadvertently becomes a huge part of our daily work since the pandemic last year, will help us travel less once this health crisis ends,” he noted.
He added that “when EDC began utilizing our videoconferencing facilities in 2018, our employees reduce air and land travels, resulting in decent reduction in our own emissions.”
Tantoco further stated that “apart from technologies, green financing is one of the biggest enablers in decarbonizing our global economy.”
To this end, EDC has spearheaded the formation of a multi-sectoral movement geared toward attaining net zero carbon emissions among businesses in the Philippines.
Helmed under the Net Zero Carbon Alliance, the early champions joining EDC in the movement are: property developer Arthaland; First Balfour, a construction company under the Lopez group; communications agency Drink; Silliman University; as well as the Philippine subsidiaries of multinational firms Analog Devices; Coca-cola; Knowles Electronics; and Unilever.
“We are putting into action our revitalized mission in the Lopez group to forge collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future by seeking partnerships and synergies with fellow enterprises in the country,” Tantoco emphasized.