P4P: 100% Renewable Energy for All!
The Power for People Coalition (P4P) is a broad consortium of consumers, civil society and people’s organizations, fossil fuel affected and indigenous communities, faith-based groups, academe, youth, and renewable energy advocates.
On August 26 to 27 -days after its eighth year anniversary – P4P held its National Conference in Quezon City, which was attended by 84 participants representing 50 organizations throughout the country. Here, a clear demand was formed: that the Philippine government must raise its renewable energy ambition and investigate and secure necessary requirements for the country’s energy mix to become 100% renewable energy as soon as possible – with the critical year of 2030 as a possible landing goal.
Formed in 2014, P4P has been actively amplifying the voice of consumers against abuses and high electricity rates charged by generation companies and distribution utilities insistent on depending on fossil fuels for the energy they sell, and of communities who suffer from the exploitative and polluting nature of coal, gas, and other fossil fuels.
P4P celebrated successes in fighting coal from recent years, but noted that with ten years wasted on coal, there is simply no time to entertain more detrimental energy – not nuclear, not waste to energy, and not fossil gas – which is most blatantly falsely purported as a solution to power and sustainability woes in the country.
From 2.05 GW in 2016, proposed fossil gas capacity steeply rose to nearly 30 GW by 2022. Propositions of fossil gas projects are emboldened by policy directions from the new Administration. In his first State of the Nation Address, President Bongbong Marcos declared fossil gas as ‘key’ in the transition to a renewable energy-based power sector and ordered the prioritization of upstream and midstream development through incentives and priority legislation.
P4P asserts that, cognizant of skyrocketing fossil fuel prices today and the climate emergency we face, there is no reason to delay the transition to RE long promised by the government. There is an unparalleled opportunity today to hasten the renewable energy shift – with favor for community-owned and managed renewable energy systems and full national electrification through renewables.
Although claimed as a transition fuel to renewable energy, new gas projects planned under the Marcos administration are projected to last 30-35 years, which compromises the goal of 100% renewable energy to be achieved in the next 10 years and guarantees high prices for consumers.
Renewables, meanwhile, are increasingly proving to be much more affordable. The Green Energy Auction Program, which bid for 2GW of power supply requirement purely from renewable energy sources yielded generation price offers as low as ₱ 3.4/kWh. Furthermore, the development of deployable and flexible RE technologies and policies such as the Microgrids Law and policies on energy conservation and efficiency have since strengthened the capacity of renewable energy to address the power needs of communities in any terrain. The Philippines is surely more capable of opening the floodgates for renewable energy today.
P4P also took note of the need to push for an overhaul of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, which allowed energy companies to pick fossil fuels and pass on the costs to consumers, and the democratization of the energy system.
There is no rhyme or reason for using coal, gas, or any fossil fuel for power. The Filipino consumer is under siege from all sides – they pay higher electricity costs, suffer from the environmental destruction brought by fossil fuels, and get sick from fossil fuel plants’ emissions. The only way for consumers and communities to win is with 100% RE.
The P4P conference was made possible by the generosity of WWF Philippines, Caritas Philippines, and CEED, and the collective effort of co-organizing by the P4P convenors (including Sanlakas, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, Freedom from Debt Coalition, Greenpeace Philippines), Manila Observatory, and Sanggunian of the Ateneo de Manila University.