'No regrets' in ditching coal for clean energy, says First Gen CEO

Nov 23, 2020

MANILA - The Lopez Group has no misgivings about its decision to keep coal-fired power plants out of its portfolio, and instead invest in renewable energy, a scion of the Lopez family said on Monday. 

Federico ‘Piki’ Lopez, Chairman and CEO of First Philippine Holdings Corp (FPH) and First Gen admitted that shutting the door on coal power in 2016 meant walking away from an opportunity to make a profit, and this was not easy to explain to shareholders and analysts.

But Lopez said their decision to invest in green energy was solidified by the devastation they saw in the wake of super typhoon Yolanda in 2013, which he said is part of the ongoing climate crisis.

“Despite the doubters, let me say we never wavered and never once regretted the decision, most especially today,” said Lopez.

Lopez said this as he accepted the Management Association of the Philippines’ (MAP) award today as the MAP Management Man of the Year 2020. 

MAP said it chose to honor Lopez this year “for passionately pushing for the country’s transition to a low-carbon economy through his various advocacies to proactively address the irreparable damage of climate change.”

The Lopez scion meanwhile said the conglomerate’s decision to bet on renewable energy eventually paid off. 

“And of course, most gratifying was building up FPH’s recurring net income at a compounded annual growth rate of 29 percent over the past 10-year period,” Lopez said. 

He added that the recent storms which pummeled the country are manifestations of the climate crisis, which should push corporations to go beyond simply “ticking the box” or doing less harm.

“The destructive power of these formerly 100-year events has no doubt been intensified by the accelerating climate crisis, and they now hit us with greater frequency and regularity.”

FPH is the pioneer and leader in the natural gas industry, accounting for 23 percent of the country’s gross generation. FPH subsidiary Energy Development Corporation (EDC) is the world’s largest integrated geothermal power producer, which also operates hydro, wind, and solar power plants. 

Piki is the son of Oscar Lopez, Chairman Emeritus of Lopez Holdings Corp.

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