This refers to the total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) of a particular product, activity, or entity. Energy production, from electricity of residential units to transportation, makes up for 73% of the total GHG emissions worldwide, according to the World Resources Institute and ClimateWatch.
Carbon reduction (also decarbonization)
The process of reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that an entity, a company, or a state produces. This may be done by switching to more climate-friendly and cleaner solutions, such as using renewable energy sources. As of 2020, at least 21% of the power generated in the Philippines came from renewable power plants. The government aims to increase that number to 35% by 2030.
Climate change (also called global warming, climate crisis, and climate emergency)
This refers to long-term changes in weather patterns and temperatures. According to the United Nations, human activities have been the main driver of climate change since the 1800s, primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels.
Distributed Energy Resources (DER)
These are smaller power sources — including solar photovoltaic panels and energy storage systems — that could be aggregated to provide the power necessary to meet regular consumer demand.
This refers to the distribution and sale of oil and natural gas to end users or consumers for power and non-power applications, such as petroleum products. Sectors consuming energy include transport, households, industries, and agriculture, among others.
In the context of the climate crisis, this refers to the discharge of greenhouse gas (GHG), atmospheric gasses that trap heat and contribute to global warming. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most common greenhouse gas. Total emission is referred to as carbon footprint.
Emissions may either be direct or vented, or indirect or fugitive. Direct or vented emissions are intentionally generated for operational or safety requirements of an activity or facility, while indirect or fugitive emissions are unintended leakages in the operations of a facility or entity.
The GHG Protocol, a global framework created by the World Resources Institute that measures GHG emissions of private and public entities, also defines indirect emissions as “consequences of activities from a reporting entity, but occur at sources owned or controlled by another entity.”
This refers to the range of primary energy sources for various purposes in a geographic area. In 2020, coal remained a major contributor to the Philippines’ energy mix, accounting for 56%. Meanwhile, renewable energy took a 34.2% share, oil provided 29.2%, and natural gas supplied 5.8%.
Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC)
This is a document issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) to a project proponent that allows a proposed activity or undertaking to proceed upon a positive review of the environmental impact statement (EIS). ECC applications can be accessed online through the DENR website.
According to the DENR, the ECC certifies that “based on the representations of the proponent, the proposed project or undertaking will not cause significant negative environmental impact.” The ECC includes specific measures and conditions to mitigate the impacts of a project during construction, operation, and abandonment.
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
This is a document submitted by a project proponent to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) that specifies impacts on the environment and mitigation measures of proposed activities or projects.
Floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU)
The FSRU is a floating or offshore vessel that allows for the transport, storage, and regasification of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
These are non-renewable energy sources formed naturally from the remains of plants and animals. They are extracted then burned as fuel, which releases carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Coal, oil, and natural gas are fossil fuels. In 2020, the Philippines sourced 55% of its power from coal-fired power plants, while natural gas-fired power plants contributed 21%, and oil-based power plants brought in 4%.
Green Energy Auction Program (GEAP)
A mechanism from the Renewable Energy Law that allows the auction of a specified amount of power to be purchased at a certain ceiling price set by the Energy Regulatory Commission. The mechanism allows DUs to follow through on their RPS requirements.
Green Energy Option Program (GEOP)
A mechanism from the Renewable Energy Law that allows commercial and industrial customers with an average monthly peak demand of 100 kilowatts (kW) to contract their power requirements directly with renewable energy suppliers.
Greenhouse gas (GHG)
This refers to atmospheric gas that traps heat and contributes to global warming. Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) are some of the more common greenhouse gasses.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG)
Natural gas that is cooled down to about -160 degrees Celsius, changing it to liquid form that is easier to store and transport. To be utilized, LNG is converted back into its gaseous form through reheating, in a process called regasification.
This is the main component of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and is considered a greenhouse gas. It has more heat-trapping potential than carbon dioxide but has a relatively shorter lifetime, according to the Environmental Defense Fund and the World Meteorological Organization.
This refers to the transportation and processing of oil and natural gas.
Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) (also referred to as climate target or climate promise)
As defined by the United Nations, the NDC is “a climate action plan to cut emissions and adapt to climate impacts.” States that are party to the 2015 Paris Agreement are required to establish an NDC and update it every five years.
The Philippines in 2021 committed to a 75% GHG emissions reduction and avoidance by 2030.
The Paris Agreement is an international treaty adopted in 2015 that aims to avert climate catastrophe. A total of 196 parties, including the Philippines, have submitted plans outlining commitments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Philippine Energy Plan (PEP)
This is the Philippine government’s comprehensive blueprint for energy security and resilience.
Power generation mix
This refers to the combination of the energy sources used to generate electricity in a given geographic region. In the Luzon grid, at least 14% of power comes from renewable energy (RE) sources. The Visayas grid enjoys 48%, while the Mindanao grid sources at least 30% of its power from RE.
Renewable energy (RE)
Natural resources that do not diminish over time. Renewable energy sources include solar, hydro, wind, and geothermal. RE sources generate 21% of the Philippines’ power supply.
Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS)
A mechanism from the Renewable Energy Law mandating distribution utility companies to acquire, on a yearly basis, at least 2.5% of their power to be tapped from renewable energy resources.
In the context of climate change, what is considered sustainable are practices that help lessen or avert climate catastrophe. This could mean changing long-accepted practices that may help slow down the warming of the planet.
System Impact Study (SIS)
A study conducted by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to determine the adequacy and capability of the grid to accommodate a new power plant connection.
This is the interconnected electrical network responsible for the transport of energy from power-generating sources to distribution utilities and into consumer homes and industrial businesses. In the Philippines, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, a private entity, is responsible for the operations of the country’s power grid.
This refers to the exploration and extraction of oil and natural gas.
Watt-hours are a measurement of the total amount of electricity used during a certain period. One kilowatt (kW) is equivalent to 1,000 watts. One kilowatt-hour is one-hour of use of electricity at 1,000 watts.
In the Philippines, the average monthly electricity consumption of one household is 200 kWH, according to Meralco estimates. Megawatt (MW) is typically used to measure the consumption of a certain area or the output of a power plant. One MW is equivalent to one million watts. A coal plant for example usually has an output of 600 MW. The Luzon Grid has a system peak demand of 13,125 MW.
Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM)
The WESM is a venue for trading electricity in the Philippines, created by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001. Electricity distributors usually tap power resources from the WESM when power supply agreements cannot accommodate demand from electricity consumers.
Briefing: What are Scope 3 emissions?, Carbon Trust.
How is Electricity Measured?, Union of Concerned Scientists, 2013.
Revised 1996 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, International Panel on Climate Change, 1996.
What is climate change?, United Nations.
Illustration: Joseph Luigi Almuena
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