- Category: Asia
15 Mar 2013
- Published on Friday, 15 March 2013 09:43
- Hits (1250)
The Philippines has abundant renewable energy sources and these must be used to fuel sustainable economic development in the midst of climate change, said Vice President Jejomar Binay.
“Obviously we cannot remain myopic – we have to look beyond available solutions and develop new ones,” the Vice President told small-scale hydro power stakeholders during the Philippine Hydro Summit.
According to Mr. Binay, renewable energy should be given key attention as it helps resolve both the problems of cost and serious impact on the environment. It is clean and has minimal, if any, environmental impact.
“They are less expensive to develop--we don't have to dig 3,000 km deep under the sea and take chances whether or not oil or gas is underneath, nor do we have to dig down to mine out the coal,” he stressed.
The Vice President said that the Philippines should particularly consider developing hydro facilities as it is the cheapest and richest renewable resource in the country, therefore, more viable to use in providing electricity for the whole country.
Apart from power supply, Mr. Binay pointed out that electrification and connection of rural off-grid areas would also mean addressing health and criminality issues.
While the cost of connecting these rural communities to the grid is high, Mr. Binay stressed that human cost of denying them electricity is higher.
“If we are not to give them access to modern energy, not only are we not denying them access to progress, we are also denying them their right to live in a cleaner world,” he said.
The Vice President emphasized the call for integrating communities in the development strategy for renewable energy to improve implementation and at the same time adapt to climate change.
“Direct community involvement can improve implementation of programs, strengthen ownership of projects, preserve existing social relationships and help families and neighborhoods stay intact,” he said urging hydro advocates to involve communities and prepare them for climate change.
Mr. Binay said the Philippines should take renewable energy seriously and veer away from the thought that it is just merely for the sake of joining the bandwagon.
The government has already launched the National Renewable Energy Program, which outlines the policy framework under the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 and sets strategic actions to achieve the goal of increasing the share of renewables in the energy mix by 50 percent through 2030.
The Vice President underscored that the government should be “an enabler rather than a barrier” to accelerate the use of renewable energy in the country, as well as fulfil its self-mandated targets.
Mr. Binay noted that the Philippines has been staggering in implementing laws like the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 and appealed to the government to be true with the intent of these laws.
“While your efforts to rid the R.E. contract system of flippers are laudable, such principle cannot be the reason for the inability of small-scale run-of-river hydro projects to obtain financing,” he said calling on the attention of Department of Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla to help oversee the development of renewable energy projects.
“I suggest that you extend a helping hand to the serious R.E. developers so they can address the issues thrown at them by banks in connection with the feed-in tariff rates. I am certain there can be a win-win solution that can lead to more R.E. projects being constructed,” he added. – C. Dominguez