MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines will continue to rely on coal as its main fuel to generate electricity in the medium-term, a power industry official said.
“In the medium term it will still be coal. Coal will still be the fuel of choice,” Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) president Jose de Jesus said.
De Jesus said there have been efforts to help clean emissions coming from coal.
“They clean coal, carbon capture is one and the other is they convert coal into methane gas and then it could reduce emission by 50 percent and then they bury what it emits and also the process of converting it is catalytic methalization,” he said.
He said clean coal as a source of energy is still cheaper than other power sources.
“When you convert coal into methane, it has carbon emission that can be buried, carbon capture may still be expensive. What’s nice is there are technologies there that are yet to be commercially feasible,” he added.
Aside from coal, de Jesus said nuclear could be the next source of power for the Philippines.
“Nuclear is clean, but expensive. But over the long run it will be cheap,” de Jesus said, adding that he is in favor of the Philippine government’s initiative to rehabilitate the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP).
The Meralco chief believes that nuclear energy could be another source of cheap power.
“When the BNPP runs, it will be cheap. So your cost per megawatt will be much lower. I’m very optimistic eventually the public will learn about it (nuclear),” he said.
He said other countries in the region have been developing nuclear energy as a source of power.
“Our neighbors in the north have been building nuclear power plants. We’re just saying that clean coal and nuclear is the future,” he said.
By next month, the state-owned National Power Corp. (Napocor) is expected to come up with a recommendation on the proposed recommissioning of the 600-megawatt (MW) nuclear facility in Bataan.
Napocor president Froilan Tampinco earlier said they have asked Korea Electric Power Corp. (Kepco) to submit to Napocor a cost estimate of the proposed rehabilitation program for BNPP early next year. –Donnabelle L. Gatdula (The Philippine Star)