Philippines’ dependency on coal-fired power surpasses China, Indonesia

The Philippines surpassed Indonesia and China to break into the world’s top ten economies most dependent on coal-fired power, data from energy think tank Ember showed, underlining the challenges it faces to achieve its green energy goals. The country’s share of coal in electricity generation rose for the fifteenth straight year in 2023, the data showed, despite a target to cut dependence on the fuel to less than half of total power output by 2030.

Kosovo had the highest coal dependence in 2023 according to the data released by Ember, with 88.21% of its power coming from the polluting fuel. Mongolia, South Africa, India and Kazakhstan followed by the Philippines ranked 7th on the list.

Coal accounted for 61.92% of all electricity generated in the archipelago in 2023, from 59.07% in 2022 – the highest jump in dependence on the fossil fuel since 2016.

The Philippines wants to double solar additions and triple wind capacity in 2030 from current levels and is betting on a rapid build out of offshore wind farms. While the Philippines surpassed Indonesia, ranked 8th, in terms of share of coal in power generation, coal continued to be Indonesia’s preferred fuel.

China fell outside of the top 10 in 2023 as an acceleration in renewables helped cut the share of coal in its electricity generation, but it remained the largest overall generator of coal-fired power, with India second.

“Both Indonesia and the Philippines lag behind other countries in the Asean region in their wind and solar deployment,” Ember said in a statement on Monday. Indonesia and the Philippines have struggled to boost renewable capacity due to the costs involved.

Indonesia became the world’s fifth largest generator of coal-fired power, with output growing at an average pace of 7.1% over 8 years to overtake South Korea for the first time.

“This ascent included surpassing Australia in 2018, Germany in 2019, Russia in 2020 and South Africa in 2022,” Ember said.