10 years after Yolanda, fossil fuel use in Eastern Visayas increased – think-tank

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On the occasion of the 10th-year commemoration of the landfall of Yolanda, one of the most powerful tropical cyclones ever recorded, a sustainability think-tank raised concern that decarbonization has not advanced in Eastern Visayas even as it hosts ample renewable energy resources.

According to analysis from CEED, energy facilities in the Leyte-Samar grid produce 100% renewables from geothermal energy, yet power contracted in its 11 electric cooperatives comes largely from coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel. From 51% in 2013, coal’s share in contracted capacity jumped to nearly 90% in 2022, contradictory to the Yolanda tragedy’s biggest lesson of the need to move away from dirty energy. Meanwhile, off-grid areas are heavily dependent on diesel.

“Typhoon Yolanda left a trail of destruction at an unprecedented scale when it hit a decade ago. In its wake, it also left a hard-taught lesson: that we need to muster all political will and fight to the hilt against having such disasters as a fixture in the future. On this end, a radical reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels is necessary. It is thus unfortunate to see how a region that has experienced the worst so far of the climate crisis has yet to mark such lesson as learned,” said Gerry Arances, Executive Director of CEED.

With the rise of coal, the share of renewable energy in the total contracted supply in Eastern Visayas shrank from 49.21% RE to 10.25% in ten years, a far cry from the immense potential of the region to wean away itself away off coal and diesel.

Existing and planned renewable energy capacity in Eastern Visayas is more than enough for the region’s electricity needs with installed capacity in 2022 meeting peak demand by 3.3 times and planned capacity for 2030 projected to meet the region’s peak demand in the same year by 6 times, according to data. 

“Yolanda is forever etched in history as a tragic illustration of the wrath of the climate crisis. As we remember lives lost, we must also strive to protect and empower those that are living today and generations to come. A just and rapid shift to renewable energy in both generation and consumption in the region, both on and off-grid, will allow communities in the region to benefit from much more affordable and sustainable energy, contribute in climate solutions, and assist in strengthening climate resilience,” said Arances.

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