SENATOR Win Gatchalian called on the Department of Energy (DOE) to prepare for contingency measures to ensure sufficient coal supply and avert possible higher coal prices following the Indonesian government’s decision to ban its coal exports this month.
The ban causes concerns on the country’s supply of coal for power plants which, if insufficient, could lead to widespread blackouts.
“Part of the contingency measures should be to ensure the adherence of coal-fired power plants to the 30-day minimum inventory requirement (MIR),” Gatchalian said.
“The government should also consider looking for other suppliers especially in the coming weeks given the possible decline in stockpiles coming from Indonesia which could result in soaring coal prices,” he added.
The Senate Energy Committee chair expressed concern over this development considering that Indonesia is the biggest supplier of coal in the country. The Philippines derived 57.17% of power generation from coal as of 2020.
Data from the DOE showed that as of October 2021, the Philippines acquired 96.88% of imported coal supply from Indonesia, 1.82% from Australia, 0.35% from Vietnam, and 0.94% from other exporting countries. Of the total 42.476 million metric tons of coal produced and imported in 2020, 69.51% of which were imported and 30.49% came from local sources.
“This could be a wake-up call as well. The government should probably start rethinking and be more committed in reducing the share of coal by further diversifying our generation mix,” Gatchalian said.
In pushing for the diversification of energy supply, Gatchalian said that there’s around 28,000 megawatts (MW) of potential capacity from renewable energy (RE) sources based on awarded service contracts.
“If we maximize the 28,000 MW, we don’t need to import coal and we don’t need to import natural gas,” he stressed.