The Manila Times : BBM urged to prioritize RE development in PH

By Eireene Jairee Gomez | The Manila Times

ENVIRONMENTAL organization Greenpeace called on President-elect Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. to prioritize the development and promotion of renewable energy in the country to ensure efficient and affordable electricity for Filipino consumers.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Marcos repeated his support of nuclear power, calling it the "cleanest and cheapest" energy source.

Reacting to this, Greenpeace campaigner Khevin Yu said: "We have yet to see detailed plans of the incoming administration for energy development, but recent statements that nuclear energy is the 'cleanest and cheapest' are not true and are dangerous assertions. Nuclear power is the most dangerous and most expensive way to produce electricity." Based on the 2020 report by Lazard, the Levelized Cost of Operating Energy of solar is around $36 to $44 megawatts per hour (MWh), while nuclear costs $112 to 189 per MWh.

"Pursuing nuclear energy will be a distraction from achieving energy transition, as this could derail investments in renewable energy, undermine ongoing policy efforts, propel high electricity prices, and bring in risks of radioactive contamination and nuclear meltdown. It also fails to meet the basic technical, economic, social and political criteria for a sustainable energy policy," Yu explained.

He also cited the worsening climate impacts and the country's vulnerability to said impacts as critical risk factors for a potential nuclear disaster.

"Nuclear energy will be too risky to operate in the Philippines, considering that we are constantly battered by strong typhoons and other extreme weather events, which could easily compromise the operation of a nuclear power plant," he said.

"The incoming administration should bare their plans for when a nuclear disaster happens. Experience from other countries has shown that nuclear disaster cleanup and rehabilitation can reach up to hundreds of billions of dollars. It's clear that nuclear power does not make any economic sense and will hinder all efforts on economic recovery," Yu added.

With around 800 gigawatts of untapped renewable energy in the country, Greenpeace stressed that the priority of the new administration should be strengthening the Philippines' transition to wind and solar energy, which will provide reliable and cheap electricity and benefit every Filipino.