MANILA – The Philippine government is now working with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on a goal to acquire all coal-fired power plants in Mindanao, a Department of Finance (DOF) official said.
In a virtual roundtable briefing hosted by the British Embassy on Wednesday, Finance Assistant Secretary Paola Alvarez, who read the speech of DOF Secretary Carlos Domiguez III, said the government intends to repurpose the coal-fired power plants to increase the region’s renewable energy.
“This proposal aims to shift most of Mindanao’s energy requirements to hydropower, which will eventually spur more investments from companies seeking to expand their operations in areas powered by clean energy,” she said.
As part of this move, Alvarez said the government is working with ADB regarding the pilot-testing of the coal replacement fund.
“And right now, we are in talks and in cooperation with the DOE (Department of Energy) on how we could actually do feasibility studies on the business model of how we can acquire coal-fired power plants,” she said.
This bid, Alvarez said, aims to “create an environment that is conducive to sustainable investments.”
“We’re trying to harmonize how capital markets can actually move towards renewable energy or sustainable projects,” she said.
Alvarez said the Energy Department believes “the Philippines needs to balance its economic stability in terms of energy security while at the same time how do we transition towards low-carbon energy development.”
She said they are also coordinating with the World Bank (WB) in coming up with an instrument on how to price carbon emissions.
Alvarez said this change is not easy to do otherwise, it has been done by other countries thus, the phased-in approach in the shift with the help of partners like the British Embassy and governments in developed economies.
“Because even if we talk about new coal-fired power plants, there are still negotiable instruments related to these contracts and under the law, you cannot just cancel these contracts without repercussion,” she added. (PNA)