Target: Jericho Petilla, Secretary of the Department of Energy in the Philippines
Goal: Promote shift to renewable energy in the Philippines and end the country’s continued dependence on fossil fuel
The Philippines recently announced a plan to shift to 100 percent renewable energy within a decade. This “Sustainable Energy Roadmap” is a holistic plan to expand access to clean electricity in the country that is socially equitable, economically viable, and environmentally conscious. However, the transition to renewable energy has been stalled due to lack of concrete legislation and a continued dependence on polluting fossil fuels.
Cleantechnica describes the plan as an “integrated approach to examining the technical, socioeconomic, financial and policy changes necessary for transitioning to a an energy system entirely based on energy efficiency, intelligent grid solutions and renewable supply.” Benefits of the transition include reduced cost of electricity and healthcare, job creation, and decreasing carbon emissions.
With the highest energy costs in Asia, three million Filipino households lack access to electricity. In pursuit of a solution, the country has become a leader in renewable energy research and development in Southeast Asia with abundant potential for wind, hydropower, solar, and biomass energy. Previous proposals have included a feed-in tariff provision to create a guaranteed market for renewable energy and provide tax credits for developers to have cheaper access to sustainable technology.
However, despite their claim of renewable energy as a priority, the Filipino government continues to invest in coal-fired power plant projects. Lawmakers must also contend with the overriding belief among the public that alternative energy sources are more expensive. Opponents of renewable energy have even threatened legal action to prevent rising prices.
Mario Marasigan, member of the Filipino Department of Energy, rejects this excuse by extolling the long-term stability of renewable energy over volatile fossil fuel prices and declining resources. “While prices for fossil fuels and diesel will only escalate in the coming years, prices for renewable energy will be pegged at the same rate for the next 20 years.”
Further research is needed to determine the best locations and timing to develop the most efficient energy sources, such as building wind turbines in rural areas and harnessing hydropower during the rainy season. The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines has proposed identifying “renewable energy zones in areas with the best potential” to move forward with deployment of renewable technology.
The country has laid the groundwork through policy and abundant untapped resources in solar, wind, and biomass to become a leader in renewable energy. But the question remains of whether the Philippines will continue to rely on cheap and dirty fossil fuels or embrace its full potential and follow through on its commitment to renewable energy.
Dear Mr. Petilla,
The Philippines’ recent pledge to rely solely on renewable energy within a decade is a highly ambitious and admirable decision. Your country’s untapped energy resources such as solar, wind, and biomass, have immense potential to accomplish this transition and accommodate a rapidly growing energy demand.
However, many barriers remain to achieving this goal, such as misconceptions of renewable energy being more expensive and significant delays to deploying the necessary technology. We urge the Filipino government to prioritize the shift to renewable energy and ensure that legislation passes to make renewable energy as efficient, affordable, and sustainable as possible.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Storm Crypt via Flickr