The Power for People (P4P) Coalition on Friday hit Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Al Cusi for missing the opportunity to abide by President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to reduce dependence on fossil fuels as Meralco released revised terms of reference (TOR) for the second round of the competitive selection process (CSP) for the provision of electricity worth 1,200 megawatts (MW).
President Duterte in his last State of the Nation Address directed the DOE to fast-track renewable energy projects, a directive that Cusi has so far avoided complying with.
“We agree with the DOE that based on the first CSP round, we needed a new TOR for the Meralco CSP, but it should have been replaced by a TOR that would allow renewable energy to compete with coal on an equal basis, and not a TOR that just calls for more coal,” said P4P Convenor Gerry Arances.
The comment comes after the announcement of the republishing of the 1,200 MW TOR. P4P has earlier criticized the initial Meralco TOR as favoring its Atimonan coal-fired power plant, a criticism that the DOE apparently agreed with as it prodded the country’s largest electricity distributor to change its TOR.
“The only good thing I see about this is the desperation of coal investors to push coal, perhaps as they worry how to service their loans and pay their financial backers as coal continues on its worldwide retreat, with the exception of the Cusi-led Philippine energy sector,” said Arances.
P4P, the Catholic Church, and other cause-oriented groups have been calling on Philippine banks to join their colleagues in advanced economies and divest their investments in coal.
“Coal has brought nothing but destruction to everyone except the rich owners of coal plants and coal mines. We are disappointed that the DOE has chosen to side with the industrialists and not the people on this matter, and we are letting both the department and Meralco know that consumers and groups advocating for clean energy will not stand back as they feed more coal into our power mix,” said Arances.