To align to 1.5°C Paris goal, PH needs to ramp up renewables share in power generation mix to 80-83% by 2030

Key points:

  • ‘Aggressive shift’ to renewables, coupled with upgrading of transmission grid, necessary to help contribute to meeting 1.5 degree C climate ambition. Renewable energy (RE) needs to increase by around six to seven times by 2030 from 2020 levels.
  • Gas and coal need to be phased out by 2035, with midterm goals of lowering gas and coal’s share in the power mix to 6-7% and 10-11% by 2030.
  • Renewable energy shift will bring lower power costs.

As climate talks during the second week of the 27th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt heat up and as the G20 summit begins, sustainability think-tank Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) urged the Philippine government to lay down ambitious commitments and demands for a 1.5°C-aligned energy transition in the world and in the Philippines, which latest estimates say is possible with massive deployment of new renewable energy capacity in the country.

The call was made based on latest estimates on necessary energy development trajectories for the Philippines published by researchers from Climate Analytics (CA), as commissioned by CEED.

“As a climate-vulnerable nation, the Philippines needs to be among the loudest voices globally in pushing for a swift and just energy transition aligned to the 1.5°C Paris goal. These latest estimates make clear just how swift that transition must be for our country, which is for renewables to occupy no less than 80% of our power generation mix by 2030. The Philippines’ demands and commitments at COP 27 must thus ask for the most ambitious renewable energy shift and for the delivery of all financial, capacity-building, and technology resources needed to make it happen, as is the duty of historically polluting countries to turn over to vulnerable countries like ours. Our country’s policies and energy plans at home must also reflect this,” said Gerry Arances, Executive Director of CEED.

Ambitious gas plans in the Philippines amounting to over 29 GW of new gas power and remaining coal capacity in the pipeline left unscathed by the coal moratorium thus have no place in the Philippines’ energy transition, Arances said.

“To be 1.5°C compatible, it is critical a comprehensive plan to phase out all fossil fuels from the power sector by 2035 is set out, including reducing coal by over 65% and gas by over 45% by 2030 compared to 2019 levels. International support may be required to achieve these phase-out schedules,” the research read.

While coal and gas prices have been rising in recent years, all-time high spikes in the wake of Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the resulting global energy crunch further exposed the volatility and unaffordability of power from fossil fuels, which is forcing Filipinos to shell out much of their earnings to pay for electricity bills. Shifting to renewables will also address these woes.

“1.5°C pathways show a rapid decline in average cost of power generation in the next 10 years, due to increasing shares of RE, and RE system costs continuing to fall,” the research read.

Current plans from the Philippine  government will see renewable energy’s share in the power mix rise to only 35% by 2030. The energy advocate said more than doubling this ambition is possible, especially with latest presidential pronouncements on fast tracking offshore wind development.

“At 31 GW, the capacity of all approved offshore wind contracts combined already exceeds the total capacity we have installed nationally today. Much more of our other available renewable energy sources also wait to be tapped. Ensuring that the DOE heeds the marching order to move this forward while employing vigilance over potential cost, social, and ecological implications must be a priority of the government,” Arances added.