Road to Net Zero
THE pursuit of Net Zero journeys must be executed in crucial phases to achieve the goal of zero greenhouse gases (GHG) emission by as early as 2050, according to the latest climate change synthesis report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Net Zero refers to the balance between the amount of GHG and the amount that is being removed from the atmosphere.
In a a message published in the company’s latest integrated report., Energy Development Corp. (EDC) chairman Federico Lopez noted, as it is, “the clock ticks as we speak.”
“Winning this war and solving climate change will mean staying laser-focused on strategies, tactics and accelerating technologies that are likely to scale within this very critical timeframe of the next 27 years,” said Lopez, referring to the goal of reaching Net Zero emissions by 2050.
Getting it right
Lopez said in solving the current climate emergency, the focus should be on how to mitigate and reverse emission levels and how to adapt to the phenomenon’s impacts.
“Because if we don’t get it right, the exponential deterioration of global climate systems and the environment will make it impossible to solve other problems like poverty, inequality, disease, food production, freshwater scarcity, mass migration, social displacement, mass extinction of species and biodiversity loss, among others,” Lopez said.
Lopez said the first phase of the Net Zero journey entails the reduction of GHG emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides and fluorinated gases from the current 59 gigatons per year followed by the elimination of all emissions of GHGs in phase two.
For phase three that starts by 2050, Lopez said all stakeholders must begin reducing the concentration of GHG in the atmosphere and achieve net negative emissions.
“We now need to realize phases one, two and three within the rapidly diminishing timeframe of the next 27 years. Failing to do this over the limited period will trigger irreversible tipping points, the effects of which we are already seeing in news reports from all over the world every day,” Lopez warned.
However, EDC said efforts to achieve such goals not only involve changes in the energy sector but also in agricultural practices, food production, waste management, industrial processes, deforestation and the use of fluorinated gases for refrigeration, among others.
The company said key elements of the energy transition must gear towards the reduction of carbon intensity of electricity, scaling up of energy efficiency efforts, electrification of the majority of transport and industrial sectors, use of carbon-neutral fuels for other hard-to-reach sectors and the deployment of nature-based and manmade carbon capture, use and storage.
“All these will have immense implications for the central role of the electricity grid. The most important point is that by 2050, we will need five times the electricity we use today and we will need 10 to 12 times the clean energy in use today,” Lopez said.
EDC said the practice of energy efficiency is the “lowest hanging fruit” in reducing carbon emissions. However, investments related to it are “sparse and fragmented.”
Keeping the lights on
Lopez said while the whole world is cleaning up its act to achieve Net Zero, the challenge is how to “keep the lights on and keep power prices affordable for all.”
“Decarbonizing and scaling up a green electricity grid over the next three decades is probably the greatest energy transition in the history of mankind. It’s not just changing the electricity system but building a new global energy system with components we have never built before and at a massive scale,” Lopez said.
EDC also noted the important role regulators play in ensuring energy security and in making a successful and just energy transition in a coordinated and timely manner.
Richard Tantoco, former President and COO of EDC and a member of its Board of Directors said the company continues to invest in risk mitigation for natural catastrophes, typhoons and earthquakes.
This year, EDC is also starting the construction of at least seven projects.
“All our growth will be for naught if we are not ready for the hyper-localized impact of climate change,” Tantoco said.
“The year will be characterized by growth as we embark on seven projects simultaneously. At the outset, we recognize that these do pose significant challenges. We are fully focused on HSE and field execution to ensure that each project is completed to the highest possible standard. We understand that our top priority must be the health and safety of our thousands of workers, laborers, suppliers and co-creators,” Tantoco said.
EDC continuously invests in much needed training, safety supervision, proper personal protective equipment and best practices, particularly in lifting and rigging, working at heights, road transport and high-exposure situations.
“Our performance in terms of process safety has been really good, and we need to let that permeate toward general safety practices,” EDC said.
EDC has a total RE portfolio of over 1,480 megawatts (MW). Its 1,185.40 MW geothermal projects account for 62 percent of the country’s total installed geothermal capacity, making the Philippines the third largest geothermal producer in the world.