Aboitiz Power pushes shift away from fossil fuels amid global energy crunch

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 5) — Listed energy giant Aboitiz Power Corporation would have its “net-zero vision” blueprint ready in the next six months as it pushes the envelope for the country to wean off fossil fuel reliance, the company’s top official said on Thursday.

Aboitiz Power joins the growing global list of companies that have set a target of net-zero carbon emissions — a goal that may be challenging for many given that crude oil, coal and natural gas supply most of the energy used in the world.

The Manila-listed energy giant earlier sold a 27% stake to Japan’s JERA Co., Inc. in a $1.58-billion deal that allows Aboitiz to tap Japanese expertise in alternative energy sources.

Aboitiz wants to increase its clean energy portfolio to 4,600 megawatts by 2030 without new coal plants, so that its portfolio mix will be an equal balance between renewable and thermal capacities.

“We have a path. We have a roadmap. And the first milestone is the 2030 declaration of Aboitiz Power that we have 50:50 balance between renewables and thermal. And beyond that, we’re evaluating what are the technologies available,” Aboitiz Power president and chief executive officer Emmanuel Rubio said in a virtual briefing Thursday night.

“We will be ready to come up with our net-zero vision within the next six months,” he added.

Rubio also said the Philippines can learn from the experience of Europe, which transitioned “far too quickly” from traditional energy sources to renewables and “shut down thermal plants” but recommissioned these plants in the United Kingdom and Germany amid a global energy crunch.

“What the situation in Europe is telling us is that we really need to make sure that we come up and develop a transition policy that will actually allow us to manage the consequences of a fast-paced conversion to renewables,” the Aboitiz Power executive said.

“For the Philippines, important really is to be realistic, be pragmatic about the situation. We believe that the future needs decarbonized. But let’s understand how we’re going to transition towards that. And really have a manageable plan, a realistic plan – something that will allow us, the country, to continue to deliver needed energy to feed economic growth. And not just realize one day we wake up all of a sudden [to] the shortage of electricity,” he pointed out.

Aboitiz’s net-zero vision will be consistent with its ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) goals.

“What’s important for us, for Aboitiz and Aboitiz Power, is to understand what net zero really looks like. We do can say we will shut down our coal plants in 2040, 2045 because most of our coal plants, if not all, have useful life up to 2040, 2045. Fully depreciated by that time. The problem is after that, what then?” Rubio said.

“So we want to present a plan… something that we really understand and not just come up with a declaration that we may not be able to achieve,” he added.