DOE to explore mangrove sequestration to manage CO2

The Department of Energy (DOE) will explore the potential of mangrove sequestration in managing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in a bid to curb future impacts of climate change.

Department of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi (File photo)

The DOE said Wednesday, Dec. 1, that the move is in line with the country's continued commitment "to successfully realize the energy transition without sacrificing energy security."

In a memorandum dated Nov. 24, 2021, DOE Sec. Alfonso Cusi ordered the agency’s Energy Policy and Planning Bureau (EPPB) to look into the possibility of sequestering the country's mangroves in managing CO2 emitted from coal-fired power plants.

His mandate includes examining the existing studies or submitting an own study on the "possibility of putting up mangroves for CO2 emission reduction from coal-fired power plants" as well as seeking technical assistance from development partners for such a study.

"The study, if proven, could help the Philippines in fulfilling the CO2 requirements without sacrificing our goal to achieve energy security given our energy-neutral portfolio,” he said in the memo.

According to Cusi, while the agency recognizes "the need to attain our energy security in a sustainable manner" and that "there still is a percentage of our power needs that is being provided by coal," the country "should actively explore the potential of out-of-the-box solutions that could reduce the harmful greenhouse gas emissions of coal plants."

For some time now, mangroves have been gaining scientific interest due to their ability to stockpile significant amounts of carbon in their wood and soil, instead of releasing it back into the atmosphere.

In its pledge to the recently concluded 26th Conference of the Parties (COP) Climate Change Summit, the DOE steered clear of any commitment to phase out coal-fired power plants in the Philippines.

This came as there was nothing stated in the DOE’s letter-commitment that said it would pull the plug on coal-fired power generation in the country.

Cusi said the country’s unwavering support to energy transition will primarily rely on renewable energy (RE) installations and deployment of energy efficiency technologies.