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As PH economy grows, coal remains king, says think tank

The share of coal-fired generators in the Philippines’ electricity mix is expected to increase over the next 30 years while that of renewable energy sources could decrease even if uptake continues to rise, according to a report from the Asia Pacific Energy Research Center (Aperc).

Aperc is part of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec), a forum of 21 governments in the regions, including the Philippines.

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In the latest Apec Energy Demand and Supply Outlook report released on Friday, Aperc said coal would make up 39 percent of the Philippines’ electricity sources by 2050, climbing from 36 percent currently.

“The Philippines will need to adopt additional policy actions to mitigate environmental concerns associated with coal use,” the think tank said.

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Renewable energy is seen to account for 20 percent of Philippine supply, falling from 24 percent.

These projections are based on a “business as usual “ (BAU) scenario, which assumes that current trends continue and existing policies are maintained.

“Large increases in fossil fuel generation, particularly coal which triples, overshadow a more than doubling of renewable generation in the BAU,” the report said.

Thus, energy security in the Philippines becomes increasingly vulnerable as net energy imports grow by more than twice.

“Promoting renewables and diversifying trade will be important for maintaining energy security,” Aperc said.

The research center suggested for the government to develop policies that would encourage the construction of more advanced coal-based power plants—such as ones that use ultrasupercritical (USC) or advanced technology—and should also explore the feasibility of CCS (carbon capture and storage) development for both fossil fuels and bioenergy.

“As the economy grows, fossil fuel dependency (and hence emissions) will increase unless renewable technology installation costs fall sufficiently to ensure that renewables are the main energy resource deployed to meet increasing demand,” the report said.

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“Balancing strong economic growth with CO2 emissions reductions is therefore expected to be a challenge,” it added.

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