WWF supports Philippines solar power target

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines) has backed the Department of Energy’s (DOE) move to increase solar energy capacity targets, saying this will make power prices cheaper in the long run, contrary to claims of critics such as the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF).

The FEF claims new solar projects will add P0.32 per kilowatt-hour to consumers’ electricity bills but WWF’s own energy experts put the added cost at a maximum of P0.05/kwh for the additional 450 megawatts of solar plants.

This means that a household with an average monthly consumption of 300 kWh will only pay an additional P15 per month for clean renewable energy, which is also cheaper in the long run.

This will eventually stabilize the cost of electricity, thus achieving long-term energy security for the Philippines, WWF said.

FEF claimed that the cost to the Filipino consumer of new solar projects amounted to P12 billion annually, but WWF’s own energy experts computed the cost of the new solar projects based on Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) rates and current electricity prices—at just a little over P3 billion.

WWF said the FEF figures also do not match those of the National Renewable Energy Board.

“These bloated FEF figures create false public information and delay RE projects, while promoting expensive fossil fuels,” said WWF Climate Change and Energy Program Head Angela Consuelo Ibay in a statement.

Ibay noted that in 2001, renewable energy accounted for 37.29 percent of the country’s energy mix.

The share of RE dropped to 28.37 percent as of 2011, while that of fossil fuels increased.

“Our 50-year-old, fossil fuel dependent system has not worked. Why invest good money after bad? It is the age of energy self-sufficiency. We have renewable options. Let us use them,” WWF-Philippines vice chair and CEO Jose Ma. Lorenzo Tan said.