FPH closes door on investing in coal-fired power plants

Michelle Ong, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 23 2016 07:13 PM | Updated as of May 25 2016 12:39 PM

FPH closes door on investing in coal-fired power plants 1

MANILA (UPDATE) - First Philippine Holdings (FPH) and its subsidiaries are closing the door on coal-fired power plants.

At the annual stockholders meeting of FPH, its chairman Federico Lopez said the company "will not build, develop, or invest" in any coal-fired power plant.

"I'm certain that without having to look too far, this country already has energy alternatives that do not mortgage the future of our children and the future of our planet," Lopez said in his speech.

Lopez said FPH and its subsidiaries aim to be "among the bright navigating beacons of Philippine industry, lighting pathways towards a decarbonized economy."

Lopez believes the "pioneering entrepreneurial spirit" to accomplish this goal is alive and well in the company.

"Times may be tough but we are a business group that shines when faced with that combination of challenge and purpose," he said.

Lopez said the thinking that because Philippines is responsible for only 0.3 percent of global carbon emission and thus have the right to continue building more coal-fired plants is in his words "downright thoughtless and unconscionable."

Not only is this bad for the planet, it's also bad for business, he said.

"I would be worried if I put my money in coal plants, I would be worried that these coal plants could actually be stranded investments. There are many companies around the world that are divesting from fossil fuels," Lopez said at the sidelines of the meeting.

Two years ago, FPH subsidiary First Gen said it was looking to buy a stake in the Pagbilao plant in Quezon.

Meanwhile, the Energy Regulatory Commission said that while some renewable energy sources have become cheaper, their prices are still higher than power sourced from coal.