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This study is developed as a contribution to ongoing discussions around the role of coal-fired power plants in the Philippines’ journey towards sustainable development. The policy brief examines coal-fire power plants from economic, technological, environmental, health, social and policy perspectives. Through interviews and focus group discussions with stakeholders representing the public, private and non-government sectors, as well as the conduct of primary and secondary research of published and peer-reviewed material on coal-fired power plants in the global and national context, the policy brief attempts to provide an objective assessment as well as a crystallization of both established and emerging thought around properly positioning coal-fired power plants in the midst of Philippine growth and other pressing priorities. 

Key Messages

Coal-fired power plants have a significant role in meeting the country’s baseload energy requirements. However, given the current listing of the Department of Energy on committed and indicative coal-fired power plant projects—assuming they are all completed and built—the Philippines would already exceed the baseload requirement for 2030. 

Key Message 1

Given its host of by-products (solid wastes, emissions and discharges), and

taking into full consideration the availability and effectiveness of pollution control technologies, coal fired power plants are not desirable from a strict environmental perspective.

Key Message 2

Based on scientific literature, there is evidence that coal-fired power plants have

health and social impacts; however, there is a lack of peer-reviewed local studies to systematically guide industry practice and policy decisions. 

Key Message 3
Key Message 4

The current policy approach for energy in the Philippines is geared solely towards

available, reliable, and affordable supply rather than genuine energy security consistent with sustainable development—in spite of the fact that our body of energy laws are among the most progressive in the developing world. 

Reconciling the abovementioned points, complementary approaches are necessary

to start the Philippines on a path that is consistent with sustainable development and the country’s strategic priorities. 

Key Message 5


Develop clear energy policies consistent with the mandates set out in the Philippines’ constitution, energy laws, and international commitments. 

A cap be placed on the contribution of coal-fired power plants in the country’s energy mix to a desired level, taking into account the projected baseload requirement by 2030, while actively seeking and developing more sustainable alternatives. 

A gold standard be determined and used for approving and disapproving proposed CFPPs. 

The Philippine government to capitalize on the offer of the Philippines to reduce by 2030 about 70% of its GHG emissions relative to BAU scenario of 2000-2030 under the UNFCCC to completely transform our energy system. 


Striking A Balance: Coal-Fired Power Plants in the Philippines’ Energy Future is a product of the Ateneo School of Government, authored by Atty. Antonio La Viña and Lawrence Ang, with co-authors Engineer Jethro Hipe, Atty. Jennifer Ramos, Mike Guioguio, James Esguerra and Atty. Cecilia Guiao.
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