The Philippine government has halted the country’s coal exploration. While announcing this news, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said that the government is seeking alternative, green energy sources as it steps away from coal power. The moratorium means that investors intending to pursue any projects related to coal power will have to look into alternatives.

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Currently, coal is the dominant source of energy in the Philippines, accounting for over 41% of the country’s total energy. With the world shifting gears towards clean energy, the Philippine government faces pressure to shift its energy policies and adopt cleaner energy. However, even the coal moratorium may not yield instant results, according to Cusi. With renewable energy sources such as hydropower and solar accounting for just 29% of the country’s energy and natural gas accounting for 13.5%, the Philippines could continue relying on coal for a long time. Still, the government now banks on the available energy to continue running its industries before exploring other sources for the future.

“We see that we have enough supply for baseload power and we’re looking at a more flexible source like gas, geothermal, hydro and others,” Cusi said in a briefing.

Further, the moratorium issued by the government does not affect existing coal-based projects or proposals already submitted. In other words, such projects will likely continue even though the government has stopped new applications. The Philippine government now intends to invest more in natural gas exploration. Although not a renewable source of energy, natural gas pollutes the environment significantly less than coal.

The current state of coal power dominance in the Philippines has been instigated by a rush of coal power project approvals in recent years. As the government hits the brakes on coal use, experts anticipate other sources of power will take the number one spot in the coming years. Nevertheless, the country must maintain clear policies if it wishes to turn away from coal power for good.

+ Bangkok Post

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