LNG does not lead to energy security, says environment group

The Power for People Coalition (P4P) on March 1 said that the expansion of Philippine dependence on liquefied natural gas (LNG) is not needed to avert a power crisis and would have negative effects on energy security and consumer welfare.

P4P issued the explanation in response to a statement by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who said that the country must invest more in LNG terminals with the Malampaya supplies drying up.

“Any energy source that must be imported does not address energy security, especially if it’s an expensive and unreliable fossil fuel which fossil gas is. The cost of LNG also means consumers would pay through the nose to keep the lights on. Instead of being trapped in the false dilemma of having expensive electricity or none at all, we should go for expanding domestic renewable energy sources,” said Gerry Arances, P4P Convenor.

The consumer energy advocate explained that any further expansion in the use of fossil fuels would cause the country to miss the 1.5°C target for global warming which the Philippines committed to in the Paris Agreement.

“We call on Senator Gatchalian to not fall victim to the false promises of proponents of LNG, who use the terms short-term and medium-term to justify the expansion of fossil fuel use. If we fall into this ruse, there will be no long-term, as it will surely cause us to miss the target of the Paris Agreement. This target was set to prevent disastrous climate change, and missing it would mean we, as a country in the typhoon belt, would suffer a lot,” said Arances.

Recent estimates from the Department of Energy show the Philippines has potential to tap up to megawatts of renewable energy across 25 Competitive Renewable Energy Zones, more than enough to supply the needs of the country’s energy grid.

“Insisting on LNG means squeezing Filipinos’ limited financial capacity as high prices persist. If we maximize renewable energy, we will create a domestic and cheaper supply that protects us from the unstable global price market. Renewables are the key to green, affordable, and secure energy,” said Arances.

Arances also pressed on the fulfillment of the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 which states that it is the policy of the State “to accelerate the exploration and development of 9 renewable energy resources to achieve energy self-reliance, through the adoption of 10 sustainable energy development strategies to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels and thereby minimize the country’s exposure to price fluctuations in the international markets, the effects of which spiral down to almost all sectors of the economy.”

Arances said: “We do hope that our policymakers and the Department of Energy realize that pushing for LNG goes against the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 which must be fully and urgently implemented. 

“Renewable energy plants can come online faster than these LNG facilities which have faced several delays due to supply restrictions and economic unviability. 

“We urge Senator Gatchalian to reconsider his stance and help us push the Department of Energy to further accelerate the use of renewable energy to power our grid.” 

Photo credit: iStock/ monkeybusinessimages

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