Properly functioning facilities cannot be underestimated in business. Facilities adequately supplied with power can significantly contribute to the productivity of employees and, in the long run, the profitability of an establishment. In addition, we must also be careful about the potential emissions and pollutants from energy sources, aside from ensuring their reliability.

Cleaner energy sources, however, could provide the same amount of power supply at a lower cost and without polluting the environment, depending on where it’s sourced. Among these sources is natural gas. It has been part of the country’s energy mix since the Malampaya Gas Field, the biggest commercial gas discovery in the Philippines to date, started operating. First Gen Corporation — the largest off-taker of natural gas and generator of natural gas-fired power electricity in the country — currently sources its natural gas from this indigenous field, off the coast of Palawan.

Considered the cleanest source of fossil-based energy, natural gas can provide businesses with a cleaner, affordable, and more reliable energy supply with minimal impact to our environment.

Powering establishments better

Natural gas is a cleaner choice for businesses to consider. According to the International Gas Union (IGU), natural gas releases about 50% less carbon dioxide (CO2) than coal, and natural gas-powered electricity generation produces less than half of greenhouse gas emissions than coal and up to a third less than oil. In 2019, the use of natural gas plants, instead of coal, helped the country avoid 8.6 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions equivalent (tCO2e). That is similar to removing the emissions of 1.9 million passenger vehicles on the road annually.

The use of natural gas can help reduce global CO2 emissions almost immediately, especially in developing nations like the Philippines. Moreover, it significantly helps reduce the emissions of harmful air pollutants such as Particulate Matter (PM), nitrogen oxide (NOx), and sulfur oxide (SOx).

Natural gas also has been found to have lower generation costs. Data from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry shows that spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices have decreased from an average arrival-based price of 6.7 USD/MMBTu in December 2019 to 2.6 USD/MMBTu last May.”

Furthermore, a 2018 report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis stated that excessive reliance on imported coal is one of the main reasons the Philippines has the highest electricity prices in the ASEAN region. It concluded that natural gas, together with other energy sources “can be combined to create a cheaper, more diverse, and secure energy system”.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG), the liquid form of the source that could be shipped over long distances, is also found to be cheaper. According to IGU, switching to LNG from oil does not only deliver big emissions reductions but can also provide significant savings. Compared to oil, natural gas is much cleaner, more affordable, and more reliable — crucial for areas that need dependable electricity. 

Moreover, natural gas is reliable, since its plants typically operate with fewer outages compared to coal plants. Natural gas plants are also very efficient — requiring less fuel to generate the same amount of electricity. Finally, natural gas is recognized for its flexibility, or its ability to provide electricity or change its output rapidly. This is crucial to providing sufficient electricity since it helps support solar and wind power when there is no sun and wind. First Gen also has clean and renewable sources in its portfolio that include geothermal, hydro, wind, and solar.

Cleaner, more energized environment

Aside from helping businesses run more efficiently, natural gas also enables them to do their part in mitigating the impact of climate change.

Aside from releasing fewer Greenhouse Gases, natural gas plants help avoid additional hazards to their immediate surroundings. Unlike coal, natural gas does not leave behind ash or other pollutants that are harmful to both humans and the environment when combusted. 

As a result, using natural gas does not degrade the quality of the air we breathe, and can help greatly reduce incidents of respiratory diseases such as emphysema and asthma.

Natural gas can meet growing global energy demand as well. A recent outlook from the EIA projected the world energy consumption to grow by nearly 50% between 2018 and 2050. Most of the growth is driven by regions with strong economies, particularly in Asia.

This growing demand requires additional power sources, and natural gas is a viable option, with enough abundance and accessibility, aside from its reliability and minimal impact on the environment. Moreover, the flexibility of natural gas makes it compatible with variable wind and solar energy, allowing it to provide power when they are unavailable. Because of this, natural gas also supports the introduction of cleaner sources of energy, without compromising energy security. 

Given all its advantages, natural gas is a truly valuable source of energy. First Gen maximizes this source through its natural gas-fired power plants, which have a combined installed capacity of 2,017 MW. Bundle that with its diversified and flexible portfolio, it is clear to see how First Gen is positioned to address growing energy demands — including that of businesses — while keeping our environment clean.

First Gen’s portfolio of clean and renewable sources that include geothermal, hydro, wind, and solar, make First Gen one of the country’s leaders in clean and renewable energy.  As such, it continues to work towards helping the Philippines transition into a more sustainable and decarbonized future.