Carbon cleaning

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Building a power supply that is as clean and reasonably priced as possible should not just be the government’s goal but also the private sector’s.

We should continue showing the way toward developing clean energy sources, considering our vulnerabilities to climate risk and the vast availability of wind, solar, geothermal, hydro and other nonconventional and sustainable power sources in our country.

The development of renewable-energy resources and the implementation of new clean technologies offer the opportunity to diminish our dependence on fossil fuels and reduce our carbon-dioxide emissions, thereby helping mitigate climate change.

Many local companies are showing they are up to the task. First Gen and Energy Development Corp. were recently included in the Carbon Clean 200, a list compiled by As You Sow, a nonprofit organization in the US, and market research group Corporate Knights of Canada.

The rankings recognize the greenest companies in the world based on the size of their revenues from clean energy sources. To qualify, a company must have over $1 billion in market capitalization and generate more than 10 percent of its total revenues from clean energy sources.

First Gen and EDC were the only Philippine companies to make it to the list. It was the first time for First Gen, which ranked 113rd with estimated clean energy revenues of $632 million in 2017, coming from 3,490 megawatts of installed capacity; and the third time for EDC, ranked 139th with $494.72 million in revenues from an installed capacity of 1,471.8 MW.

In 2016, Lopez-owned First Philippine Holdings, the parent firm of First Gen and EDC, vowed it would not invest, build, or develop any coal-fired power plants, totally committing to greening its footprint and supply chains.

While other power producers have not totally abandoned ownership of coal-fired energy assets, they have started long-term investments in RE technologies.

Aboitiz Power Corp. has investments in various thermal and renewable power generating facilities with a total net sellable capacity of 3,350 MW (together with its partners), and it is further expanding its Cleanergy portfolio by landbanking on solar developments.

Together with its partners, AboitizPower has 1,294 MW of Cleanergy, which come from 32 out of 50 power plants with a portfolio of hydro, geothermal and solar facilities, and other RE projects in the pipeline.

The power unit of conglomerate San Miguel Corp. also vowed to invest in the RE sector (up to 10,000 MW, according to Ramon Ang), in a bid to further expand its presence in the energy industry.

Manila Electric Co. executives had previously announced that the company is eyeing to build a portfolio of at least 500 MW of RE in the next four years, looking at all RE technologies, whether it’s solar, wind or hydro.

Solar Philippines has taken full advantage of our tropical climate, producing energy through its solar farms and making its own solar panels for local use and export. It has eight solar projects with a total value of P85.96 billion.

We have a unique opportunity to break away from our fossil fueled past and head toward a greener future.

These companies as well as others are taking advantage of new technologies and new sustainable ways to power the country. The Philippines could, indeed, be the most aggressive Asean member when it comes to renewable- energy development.

The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines should be ready to connect RE projects to the power grid. RE developers might be much faster than they are ready to accommodate new projects.

The Philippines’s National Renewable Energy Program, under the RE Law of 2008, targets to install 15,304 MW of installed renewable capacity by 2030.

All these RE power plants would help mitigate climate change. They would displace hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon emissions in the country, even as they generate a significant number of jobs and boost economic activity in the host provinces where they operate.

They would prove, as some companies are already proving, that with cheaper, cleaner, greener power comes more environmental as well as economic benefits.



Image Credits: Jimbo Albano

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