Market for coal remains vibrant in Philippines

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The market for coal—the trading and use of the fossil fuel—continues to be vibrant in the Philippines despite global efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emission and the government’s recent announcement of a moratorium on new coal projects.

Last October, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi announced at the Global Ministerial Conference on System Integration of Renewables —held online and hosted in Singapore—that the Department of Energy (DOE) would no longer accept proposals to build coal-fired power plants.

But the DOE clarified that coal projects that have not yet been built but have secured the necessary permits and endorsements would not be hampered.

Based on data from the DOE itself, the agency was approving accreditation for coal traders and coal end-users as recently as last month.

As of Nov. 30, the DOE listed 300 registered coal-end users, which means these companies have 10-year permits.

The list covered a variety of business concerns that include, but not limited to, power plant operators, cement makers, sugar mills and manufacturers of food and non-food products.

Based on the list, the most recently approved registration was that of Milco Foods Cebu Corp., which is valid until Nov. 9, 2030.

The oldest registration was that of Quezon City-based food ingredients firm Mega Polygums Corp., which will expire on July 26, 2022.

Also, there were 67 coal traders accredited with the DOE. These include coal miners, both large-scale and small-scale, as well as third-party service providers.

The most recent of the year-long accreditation was issued to Cebu-based Triple R & S Trading, valid until Nov. 28, 2021.

A report from the International Energy Agency issued earlier this week stated that the cost of producing electricity from renewable energy systems was now competitive with other technologies, including fossil fuel-based and nuclear, while coal-based power generation was becoming too costly.

The report titled Projected Costs of Generating Electricity 2020, the ninth of a series, covered data related to 243 power plants in 24 countries — a mix of members and non-members of the OECD.

Even then, the report also found that competitiveness of power generation technologies depended on national and local conditions.

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