Greenpeace: P-Noy doesn’t need emergency powers

Says Mindanao power crisis an opportunity to fast-track clean energy solutions

Press release - March 31, 2012
Quezon City – Greenpeace today said that President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s allies in Congress should not seek to grant him emergency powers, but should instead push the executive branch of government to fast-track the implementation of the renewable energy (RE) law to address the power situation in Mindanao.

“The only power President Aquino needs right now is the power to make good on his commitments when he was elected.  During his campaign for the presidency, President Aquino declared he is for the phase out of coal power plants in the country.  Unfortunately, he seems to have forgotten his promise, allowing the implementation of the RE law to drag on and letting coal plant proposals get through left and right,” said Von Hernandez, Greenpeace Southeast Asia’s Executive Director.

In the run-up to the presidential elections in 2010, Aquino stated that “the country must seriously move towards a clear shift to clean energy and technologies.” The president made this promise in response to the “Green Electoral Initiative” survey of Greenpeace and the Eco-Waste Coalition.  He also committed to the massive and increasing share of renewable energy in the country’s energy mix to at least 50% within the next ten years, with the full implementation of the Renewable Energy Act. [1]

Unfortunately, the Department of Energy and some pro-coal advocates and policy makers are using the existing crisis in Mindanao to justify the construction of coal power projects in Mindanao.  The plants would take two or three more years before they can be operational, and would essentially lock the country into three more decades of polluting and climate changing technology.

In contrast, the implementation of RE projects is being delayed further.  None of the RE projects country-wide can get off the ground, since negotiations on the feed-in-tariff (FIT) rates for the different RE technologies have now been ongoing for more than a year beyond the target dates set in the RE law for implementation.

“While decisions on the FIT rates are being effectively delayed, coal projects are creeping in and locking us into at least three more decades of dependence on fossil fuels.  RE is steadily being edged out by coal, and we are worried that the Mindanao situation is being used by the coal industry to lock clean and renewable energy alternatives out of the equation. If the President is serious about his commitment to advance sustainable development, he should fast-track the deployment of clean energy solutions and not allow proponents of coal power to bamboozle him and the people of Mindanao into accepting the equivalent of a pact with the devil,” added Hernandez.

Greenpeace has been proposing an Energy [R]evolution scenario for the Philippines, where a massive shift to renewable energy and energy efficiency measures would wean the country away from the rising costs of fossil fuels.  In this scenario, the Mindanao grid could be powered by as much as 57.16% from renewable energy if measures are quickly implemented, rising to as much as 77.34% by 2020. [2]

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Contacts:

Von Hernandez, Executive Director, +639175263050, (632) 3321807 loc 118,

JP Agcaoili, Media Campaigner, +639176312750, (632) 3321807 loc 109,

Notes:

  1. Greenpeace Southeast Asia, EcoWaste Coalition; Green Electoral Initiative; p. 5
  2. More information on E[R], including a copy of the report Philippine Energy [R]evolution Roadmap to 2020

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