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First Gen calls for national adaptation, decarbonization plan

LOPEZ-LED First Gen Corp. has called on the government to create a national decarbonization and adaptation plan to scale up the greening of the Philippine electricity grid.

“We need a comprehensive, integrated and well-studied national decarbonization and adaptation plan of our own, backed by constant feedback from what science is telling you,” Federico R. Lopez, chief executive officer of First Gen, said during the Philippine Environment Summit in Tagaytay City on Wednesday.

He said the global energy transition has immense implications for the role of the electricity grid.

“The most important point is that by 2050 we will need five times the electricity we use today, and we will need 10 to 12 times the clean energy in use today. Even as we do this, we must continue to improve access to 24/7 electricity for billions of people,” Mr. Lopez said.

He noted that decarbonizing the grid means reducing its carbon emissions, thus reducing the emissions per unit of electricity generated.

“Of course, over time as more clean energy and storage is added into our grids, we must look toward decommissioning our fossil fuel-powered plants — the coal plants and ultimately, the oil and natural gas plants. For the latter they can either be re-powered with green fuels like hydrogen as they become feasible in the coming decade,” he said.

The Department of Energy has recently announced its plan to develop clean energy sources such as hydrogen and ammonia fuel in line with its plan for a cleaner energy future. 

Latest available data from the department show that coal-fired power plants still dominated the energy mix with a 57.5% share in gross power generation, with renewable energy, natural gas and oil-based sources contributing 23.4%, 17.7% and 1.4%, respectively.

Mr. Lopez said that aside from decarbonization, the government should also focus on other factors that could affect the country’s growth.

“Decarbonization has many aspects not only energy,” he said, citing agriculture, waste, and food.

He also pointed to adaptation that involves the Climate Change Commission, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Department of Public Works and Highways

“[For adaptation,] you have to know what’s coming, the kind of climate impacts,” he said.

At the local bourse on Wednesday, shares in First Gen closed 22 centavos or 1.22% lower to end at P17.78 apiece. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

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