Energy experts: Fossil gas not clean and sustainable, not seen to lower PH electricity rates and limit global warming

Quezon City—Energy experts and climate advocates asserted that liquefied natural gas (LNG) or fossil gas is not clean and sustainable and is not seen to lower electricity rates in the Philippines, much more so help limit global warming and achieve climate targets.

This was their reaction to a statement made by House Energy Committee Chair and Pampanga 2nd District Representative Mikey Arroyo expressing that LNG is the cleanest fossil fuel and a good stop-gap to immediately address the need for reducing emissions given the climate change imperatives.

Reacting to the statement, newly elected Senator Loren Legarda said:

“Fossil gas or LNG is a fossil fuel the primary component of which – methane – has a global warming potential 21 times higher than carbon dioxide. It is not clean. Households today are bleeding because of electricity prices that are spiking given our dependence on volatile fuel imports. It makes far more economic and business sense to accelerate and complete the transition to renewable energy and to bring in storage in massive amounts, because our Filipino families deserve affordable, reliable, secure, modern energy services.

“Let’s abolish the “pasaload” system that has allowed power generation companies to automatically pass on volatile fossil fuel price fluctuations to the public for decades. Free the market, level the playing field, ensure genuine competition instead of prolonging the life of obsolete fossil power. Renewable energy is domestically and abundantly available to Filipinos. Let us chase the future, not the dirty past the world is trying to leave behind.”

For Johnny Altomonte, Chief Executive Officer of Verne Energy Solutions, fossil gas has never been a clean option, adding that:

“There is no pathway to solving the climate crisis that includes gas. While importing LNG may prove to be a stop-gap for Malampaya’s declining reserves, it is still likely that most gas-related infrastructure will end up as stranded assets, often at the cost of the Filipino end-user. Solar, wind, and even utility-scale energy storage provide better and cheaper alternatives.”

Meanwhile, Atty. Pete Maniego Jr., Senior Policy Advisor from the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), said that fossil gas is just a bridge to the vision of total zero carbon emission by 2050. He explained:

“Like all bridges, it must have an end point. We must not replace our over-dependence on coal with over-dependence on fossil gas. The Philippines should intensify the deployment of RE and indigenous energy sources throughout the country, in order to achieve energy independence, security, reliability, resiliency, and affordability.”

The rising prices of fossil gas is also a concern for Angelika David, CASE Project Coordinator of ICSC, who said:

“We consider LNG as a supply source that will play a different role in the energy transition. However, what is more pressing to look at is the increasing cost of LNG in comparison to the past years, thus making it difficult to have a firm idea of its price in the future. If we are truly pushing for cheaper electricity rates for the country, it is still best to tap into resources that are already available, affordable, and can be secured within the country.”

The Climate Reality Project Philippines maintains that the only pathway towards cheaper electricity, while also ensuring cleaner air and healthier communities, is through renewable energy. Nazrin Castro, Climate Reality PH’s Branch Manager, expressed that:

“Filipinos have long been victims of the “pasaload” system. Power purchase agreements have favored fossil fuel companies, with the provision on automatic fuel pass-through, which allows them to pass the higher costs on to the consumers. We have been carrying the burden and paying for the risks of a price-volatile global energy market, while the fossil fuel companies enjoy comfort in their predictable profit from these agreements. What needs to be done, first and foremost, is to end such policies that only favor the fossil fuel companies.”

Legarda, Altomonte, Maniego, and David are members of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps, a global community of over 31,000 Climate Reality Leaders in over 160 countries working for a low-carbon, climate-resilient, and sustainable future. To date, there are more than 1,800 Climate Reality Leaders in the Philippines.