Leading energy players on Thursday urged the government to take the lead and come out with its “net zero” commitment to guide the industry on the way forward.
“I think it would be critical for the government to exercise its leadership and craft a net-zero commitment. There are already more than 137 countries and counting who is committed to net zero,” Eric Francia, chief executive officer of AC Energy Corp. said during the 26th Conference of the Electricity Power Supply Industry (CEPSI).
“I think it’s just a matter of time that the Philippines hopefully will also commit to net-zero and again craft specific policies that will give a lot of teeth and depth to that potential…Because and hopefully it will also encourage more corporates in the Philippines to follow suit,” Francia said.
Francia said having a government policy will encourage everyone to move in the same direction and reduce their respective carbon footprints.
“Then it’s a level playing field and we’re all marching to the same tune. I don’t think only corporates will be sufficient. I think there needs to be a drive from the government,” he said.
Emmanuel Rubio, Aboitiz Power Corp. president, and CEO said the government should take the lead and come out with a firm roadmap.
“One thing I think that we can look at is also what the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and then some of the financial institutions have started about energy transition mechanism. I think we’ve had discussions with some of these banks and continue to explore,” Rubio said.
He said some of Aboitiz Power coal plants can be shutdown down by 2045 or before 2050.
“But then in the current process, it’s that the valuation as far as the energy transition mechanism is concerned and looking at probably 15 years,” Rubio said.
“Between 15 and 20 to 25 years, a lot of value gap that you need to make up for. This is something that we have to work with the financial institutions and maybe with government support to subsidize some of these initiatives,” he said.
Global Business Power Corp. president Jaime Azurin said in the same forum the road to net zero is very challenging.
“While I agree with, there has to be a timely shutting down of these coal plants, the transition fuel.. that its gas. its more efficient, its less pollutant. But after that, if we are to go to net zero by 2050, there is still technologies being developed to replace all of these baseload plants,” Azurin said.
He said renewables cannot be expanded without storage and without efficient baseload power plants.
“It’s a direction. I know there’s a moratorium on coal, but what comes next. If the government would have placed a gas storage facility wherein you can draw, then you could have a lot of gas plants,” he said.
First Gen president Francis Giles Puno said First Gen is pioneering the entry of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the country but some rules remain unclear.
“LNG will be a very critical component and when you look at the latest DOE plan, gas plays out quite prominently as part of the decarbonization in energy plan and moving forward,” Puno said.
“But at the same time, the rules are so unclear. We’re still making an investment on LNG despite the fact that we’re uncertain,” he said.
He said the timing of the entry of LNG is perfect but “the problem is I don’t even know how to forecast my revenue from LNG which I think in a way is rather unfair for us to take on that risk.”