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Data scientist calls coal power unreliable, backs ‘flexible’ renewables 

RENEWABLE ENERGY (RE) plants can be counted on to reliably service power demand more than coal-fired facilities, even though RE is saddled with a reputation for being intermittent because of the variability of solar and wind sources, a data scientist representing the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) said on Thursday.

In a virtual forum hosted by the Department of Economics at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, Jephraim Manansala, chief data scientist of the ICSC, called coal “unreliable” and that it is time for the Philippines to shift to renewables and wean itself from depending on coal, which is “unreliable” and not sufficiently flexible.

“When we have too many baseload power plants (powered by coal), we will have too much power when we do not need it and not enough when we do. What we need is flexible generation to have enough power whenever we need it,” Mr. Manansala said.

He noted that the Philippines is rich in wind and solar resources, and needs to focus on distributed energy generation to achieve the desired flexibility.

The Department of Energy estimates that the Philippine power mix is 47% coal-fired. Natural gas accounts for 22% and renewables 24%, including hydro, geothermal, wind, and solar. Oil-based sources account for 6.2%. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

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