Consumer welfare advocacy group Murang Kuryente has criticized the Department of Energy (DOE) for insisting on its “technology neutral” policy on power generation and ruling out a ban on the construction of coal-fired power plants in the country.
Murang Kuryente spokesperson Gerry Arances said in a statement that Energy Secretary Al Cusi last week told lawmakers during a hearing on the DOE’s budget for 2020 that a “moratorium on any technology is a disservice to our country.”
“Secretary Cusi’s remarks betray a parochial mentality that focuses on megawatts produced while dooming consumers to paying more for unreliable and polluting energy,” Arances said.
He said Cusi’s policy ran counter to the spirit of the directive issued by President Duterte in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) in July.
“You cannot divorce the economic, social and environmental effect of any technology from its output,” Arances said.
Murang Kuryente blamed the coal power plants for aggravating the so-called power crisis that we experienced in the run-up to the 2019 midterm elections.
“It’s a no-brainer,” he said. “If you have technology that is more reliable, more affordable and more sustainable in producing energy, you go for it and abandon old technology, especially if it’s destructive.”
He was referring to renewable energy sources, particularly solar photovoltaic technology but also wind and geothermal.
“The Philippines is one of the few countries in the world that insists in constructing new coal-fired power plants despite a global trend to halt their continued use,” Arances said.
“Coal makes consumers pay more in their electric bills, makes them sick and destroys the environment,” he added. “Renewable energy should not even be an alternative, but rather the first choice in our energy policy.”
Cusi had reiterated that the government was not favoring or discouraging any particular technology for power generation.
The energy chief argued that all power plants should compete with other types of technology without government support such as through incentives.
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