Clean energy advocates ask SC to junk Duterte’s EO

Published January 23, 2023, 3:49 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

Several groups advocating for clean energy technologies in greenfield power projects have asked the Supreme Court to junk Executive Order No. 30 issued by former President Rodrigo in 2017.

In a statement to the media, Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) said a petition has been filed with the high court to nullify EO 30 of the past administration that resulted in the certification of a number of proposed fossil fuel-based plants as energy projects of national significance.

Joining CEED in that clamor for a policy ditch are Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, Sanlakas, Quezon for Environment (QUEEN) and the Atimonan Power to the People.

“The petitioners seek to strike down EO 30, issued by then-President Rodrigo Duterte, which created the Energy Investment Coordinating Council that is tasked to declare projects as Energy Projects of National Significance (EPNS),” the group said.

They sounded off that the EPNS status granted to projects to include expedited permitting processes may “lead to the expansion of coal and other fossil fuel projects in the country.”

CEED Executive Director Gerry Arances primarily indicated “we were right to raise concern regarding the Constitutionality of EO30 when it was first announced.”

In addition to the Constitutional issues, Arances said there are “very real economic issues which will confront consumers if this policy is continued.”

The EPNS status on projects had been granted not just on coal plants, but also the ongoing projects on liquefied natural gas (LNG) import facilities, as well as array of renewable energy (RE) projects.

Currently, the country’s power supply condition, especially in the Luzon grid, is precarious that even the government cannot totally commit at this point if renewables can really plug the gap that will be voided by fossil fuels if they will be scrapped in the immediate term.

Without a stable power supply, it’s not just household consumers who will suffer from service disruptions, but this will be a very dangerous situation to be in for businesses especially on their post-pandemic recovery phase.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has already laid down the investment trajectory for massive- scale renewable energy investments, but policymakers are still taking their grasp on a silver lining to the short-term power supply predicaments of the country.