SUPPORTERS of clean energy said the fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) was delivered by President Rodrigo R. Duterte Monday failed to renew a previous commitment to pursue more green energy alternatives.
In a statement, the Power for People Coalition said it is “disappointed” with the President for not reaffirming a previous policy statement calling for dependence on coal energy to be wound down.
“We are disappointed that the President did not reaffirm his directive to the Department of Energy (DoE) to reduce the country’s reliance on coal,” Gerard C. Arances, the coalition’s convenor, was quoted as saying in a statement.
Mr. Duterte had ordered the DoE in 2019 to boost renewables development, according to the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED), an environmental think tank, in a separate statement.
“We have more coal power plants in the pipeline and a resurgence of air pollution brought about by increased activity as the quarantine is relaxed, and yet the President could only talk about Boracay,” according to Avril De Torres, CEED’s program head for research, policy, and law.
The DoE under Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi is pursuing a “technology-neutral” policy on energy sources, meaning it is open to the use of all energy sources.
Power generated from coal accounted for more than half of the generation mix in 2019.
Mr. Arances also pointed to possible “dissatisfaction” on the part of consumers because the President failed to discuss mounting consumer complaints over bills charged by power companies during the quarantine. Power companies were initially permitted to estimate power bills during the lockdown due to their inability to deploy meter readers.
“Power consumers all over the country are also certainly dissatisfied that, while the President did warn private electricity providers to serve end-users better, no satisfactory resolution was provided,” Mr. Arances said. — Adam J. Ang