The Philippines will do more to stimulate renewable energy but insists that coal power will continue to backbone its growing economy.

“Coal is the more dependable, the more reliable source for base load,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi told his first media briefing since the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte took office last week, adding, “As a developing country we cannot afford not to have coal.”
Coal power plant
Those on the renewable side are pushing for the country to be powered by green electricity only by 2030, by halving the cost of solar so that it can compete against fossil fuels without subsidies, but Cusi dismissed this vision.

“We have to find a happy balance. We cannot afford to rely solely on renewables,” Cusi said, adding that he would try to complete a review to establish a new energy policy in 30 days.

Under previous president Benigno Aquino, the Department of Energy was pushing for a 30:30:30 mix for renewables, coal and natural gas, with the remaining 10 percent allocated for alternative energy including nuclear.

One of the world’s fastest growing economies, the Philippines aims to double its power generation capacity by 2030 to limit the chances of blackouts which have blighted the country’s performance.

But capping the use of cheap coal is likely to be tough in a country where electricity costs are among the highest in Asia. Annual coal imports could rise 16 percent over the next 10 years to 17.6 million tonnes, according to government projections.