Skip to content

Philippines Sectors

What is The Philippinesʼ pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

Power sector in 2030

Renewable energy can play a large part in reducing emissions in the power sector. Renewables reach up to 85% of the power mix by 2030, and around 100% by 2040, following 1.5°C compatible pathways. Focusing on renewable energy in the power sector would reduce the need to rely on CDR technologies that are unproven at scale or more costly. The carbon intensity of the power sector reduces from around 670 gCO₂/kWh in 2017 to as low as 100 gCO₂/kWh in 2030 and reaches zero by around 2039.

If the coal moratorium leads to cancelling all future coal plans, the transition to renewables could be accelerated as investors shift investments to clean energy options. Restructuring the power sector with renewables could bring about a secure, low-emissions, flexible energy system. In recent years, coal-fired generation has not coped with peak demand, nor the low demand during the pandemic, causing power outages.1,2 Renewable energy offers benefits such as flexibility, resilience, and electricity access for remote communities.

A potential for high penetration of renewables indicates that nuclear energy need not play a role in decarbonisation. The Philippines’ current nuclear energy programme roadmap places huge unnecessary risk of catastrophic damage to a country prone to earthquakes.

Towards a fully decarbonised power sector

Our analysis of 1.5°C compatible pathways shows emissions from the power sector need to peak immediately and could reach net zero by 2039, with negative emissions from then on. Reaching net zero power would involve a transition away from an emissions intensive electricity sector, with coal and gas needing to be phased out by around 2035.

The Philippines has installed 4.6 GW of coal fired power since 2015, and has 1.9 GW under construction and 10.1 GW in the pipeline as of July 2020.15 Coal projects represent over 80% of committed capacity as outlined in the latest Philippine Energy Plan 2018-2040.9

The plan also includes a natural gas project (650 MW) with more capacity than the total of committed renewable projects (516 MW). The coal moratorium, although a positive step, excludes committed projects and expansions.10 The exclusion criteria risks investment in stranded assets.

The 1.5°C compatible pathways show the Philippines needs to phase out coal by 2034. For the coal moratorium to be effective, it would need to be applied to all coal plans, and additionally, implementing plans to phase out coal and gas by around 2034. These plans highlight the discrepancy between the future of the Philippine energy system and the need for rapid decarbonisation. These actions will require significant amount of international support to implement.

1 Climate Action Tracker. Philippines. Climate Action Tracker. (2020).

2 Ahmed, S. J. Philippines Power Sector Can Reach Resilience by 2021 COVID-19 Reveals Regulatory Weaknesses and the Need for Improved Incentives and Policies. (2020).

3 Department of Energy. Draft Philippine Energy Plan. (2020).

4 IEA. Philippines – Countries & Region. International Energy Agency. (2020).

5 FAO. FAOSTAT – Agriculture Total. (2019).

6 Plaza, A. B. Ditch NIMBY to fix Philippines’ municipal solid waste problem. Asian Development Bank. (2017).

7 Climate Transparency. Philippines Country Profile. (2020).

8 Department of Energy of the Philippines. National Renewable Energy Programme (NREP). in (2011).

9 Department of Energy. Philippine Energy Plan 2018 – 2040. (2020).

10 Department of Energy. Memorandum:Advisory on the Moratorium of Endorsements for Greenfield Coal-Fired Power Projects In Line with Improving the Sustainability of the Philippines’ Electric Power Industry. (2020).

11 De Torres, A. Why the midstream and downstream natural gas industries development bills are climate-blind. (2021).

12 Reynolds, S. No Guaranteed Future for Imported Gas in the Philippines. IEEFA (2021).

13 Simeon, L. M. Philippine transport sector to get $15 billion financing from ADB. PhilStar. (2021).

14 Fern. Would BECCS deliver negative emissions? (2021).

15 EndCoal. Global Coal Public Finance Tracker. Last updated: July 2020. (2020).

16 Calculations by Climate Action Tracker. The NDC provides a cumulative BAU for the period 2020-2030. It does not provide information for the absolute emissions levels for 2030. This is calculated from a stakeholder consultation session hosted by the Philippine Climate Change Commission in December 2020.

17 While global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C provide useful guidance for an upper-limit of emissions trajectories for developed countries, they underestimate the feasible space for such countries to reach net zero earlier. The current generation of models tend to depend strongly on land-use sinks outside of currently developed countries and include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches. The scientific teams which provide these global pathways constantly improve the technologies represented in their models – and novel CDR technologies are now being included in new studies focused on deep mitigation scenarios meeting the Paris Agreement. A wide assessment database of these new scenarios is not yet available; thus, we rely on available scenarios which focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology. Accordingly, we do not yet consider land-sector emissions (LULUCF) and other CDR approaches which developed countries will need to implement in order to counterbalance their remaining emissions and reach net zero GHG are not considered here due to data availability.

18 Calculated by the Climate Action Tracker, currently unpublished.

The Philippinesʼ power mix

gigawatt

Scaling
Dimension
SSP1 Low CDR reliance
2019203020402050200300400
SSP1 High CDR reliance
2019203020402050200300400
Low Energy Demand
2019203020402050200300400
High Energy Demand - Low CDR reliance
2019203020402050200300400
  • Unabated fossil
  • Nuclear and/or fossil with CCS
  • Renewables incl. Biomass
  • Negative emissions technologies via BECCS

The Philippinesʼ power sector emissions and carbon intensity

MtCO₂/yr

Unit
02040608019902010203020502070
  • Historical emissions
  • SSP1 High CDR reliance
  • 100%RE
  • High Energy Demand - Low CDR reliance
  • SSP1 Low CDR reliance
  • Low Energy Demand

1.5°C compatible power sector benchmarks

Carbon intensity, renewable generation share, and fossil fuel generation share from illustrative 1.5°C pathways for The Philippines

Indicator
2019
2030
2040
2050
Decarbonised power sector by
Carbon intensity of power
gCO₂/kWh
670
110 to 140
−30 to 0
−30 to 0
2039
Relative to reference year in %
−84 to −79%
−104 to −100%
−104 to −100%
Indicator
2019
2030
2040
2050
Year of phase-out
Share of unabated coal
Percent
55
10 to 11
0
0
2035
Share of unabated gas
Percent
21
6 to 7
0
0
2035
Share of renewable energy
Percent
21
80 to 83
99 to 100
100
Share of unabated fossil fuel
Percent
79
17 to 20
0 to 1
0

Footnotes