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Business group defends coal plants

The Federation of Philippine Industries called on policy makers, lawmakers and other concerned stakeholders to support the government’s energy plan, instead of criticizing the construction of coal-fired power plants.

“We are not against the use of and the proposed increase of renewable energy  sources in the power mix. What we are saying is that the government should be allowed to pursue coal-fired power projects that are already in the process of construction and then review those that are in the pipeline,” FPI president Jesus Arranza said in a briefing Tuesday in Makati City.

The group cautioned groups that use climate change as platform to condemn government efforts to rely reliable power sources.

The FPI urged the private and public sectors to examine the principle of co-benefit that includes the APEC-endorsed energy efficiency program, revitalization of renewable energy projects, optimization of natural resources, forestation and traffic management.

Arranza said the group is challenging the government to adopt the proposal in the upcoming Conference on Climate Change in Paris in December this year.

He said the Philippines should not commit to a determined level of greenhouse emission reduction, citing that the country had very little contribution to carbon dioxide emission.

The Philippines is at the bottom list of polluting countries with 147.75 emission values compared with the top three—China, US and the EU with 42,669.7, 9,679.3 and 6,668.8, respectively.

“We need to have not only sufficient but reliable energy sources and this can easily be achieved by coal-fired plants. There are coal technologies that have very little emission levels and I think that’s what the government is trying to do. This technology will not raise our GHG level,” said Arranza.

The FPI said the government position on greenhouse gas mitigation should be in the context of sustainable development as stipulated in the Rio Declaration. The Philippines is a signatory to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through co-benefit measures.

The FPI also has a standing petition before the Supreme Court to reverse the directive of the Energy Regulatory Commission to collect a P0.04 per kilowatt-hour feed-in-tariff in advance, it would compromise if not deter foreign investments into the country.

Many manufacturing companies have complained about the advanced collection. They said since the manufacturing industry was a power-intensive industry, the government would raise billions of pesos from the sector alone.

FIT is a sort of incentives given to renewable energy companies, which are allowed to collect P9.68 per kwh for solar power, P8.53 per kwh for wind and P5.90 per kwh for run-of-river hydroelectric power.

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