Climate change activist and former US Vice President Al Gore says that the Philippines should end its pro-coal-fired power strategy, telling a gathering in Manila, “The age of renewable energy is beginning.”
Mr Gore told the gathering of climate action leaders that with the costs of renewable energies consistently going down, the country needed to develop a new energy infrastructure.
“We have the solutions at hand to address climate change. Shift to renewable energy,” Gore urged Monday. His message comes despite a recent decision by the Philippines government to approve the construction of 25 new coal-fired power plants.
“Climate change is causing massive disruption, conflict, hunger, infrastructure destruction and is affecting the global economy. It is also threatening political stability in many regions. That’s why we need to act and find solutions that work,” he said, while adding that the change in direction could only improve the country’s energy security in the long term.
The Philippines’ president Benigno Aquino stated in January that building more coal-fired power plants is necessary to meet the nation’s growing energy needs.
The Philippines needs around 13,000 MW of power generating capacity by 2030, with about 8,500 of those expected to come from coal. Consumption of coal by the Philippines rose 27 per cent between 2012 and 2014.
In 2014, about 74 percent of the Philippines’ electricity came from fossil fuels, while geothermal and hydropower accounted for about 13 per cent and 12 per cent of electrical production, respectively, with solar, wind and biomass providing only one percent.
Climate observers say that there is too much bureaucratic obstacles to the expansion of renewable energy at this time, as well as uncertain project financing conditions such as limits to foreign investment and ownership; and infrastructure and grid constraints.
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