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Legarda: Prioritize RE Development, Mitigate Climate Change Impacts

May 15, 2014

Senator Loren Legarda today renewed her call for more investments in renewable energy (RE) as part of a long-term solution to the growing power needs of the country, and in a bid to mitigate the effects of environmental degradation and climate change.

Legarda, the United Nations Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, made the call at the inauguration of Phase 1 of the San Carlos Solar Inc. (SACASOL) solar farm in Negros Occidental.

SACASOL is a joint venture between Bronzeoak Philippines and the Swiss-German investment firm ThomasLloyd.

Legarda noted that the solar farm created 3,000 jobs, directly and indirectly, and will entail 300 workers to maintain. The facility will sequester 17,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions and will feed the Visayas grid a total of 22 MW of clean energy to service power needs.

“This can be replicated in Mindanao to solve our power woes. It is time that we heighten efforts to increase the country’s RE capacity. We need to increase our RE installation targets and make RE part of the solution to the country’s growing energy demand,” she said.

Legarda, who chairs the Senate Committee on Climate Change, also stressed that “for a nation that is facing the daunting impacts of climate change, we need to take action towards drastically reducing greenhouse gases and carbon emissions.”

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicated that “throughout the 21st century, climate change impacts are projected to slow down economic growth, make poverty reduction more difficult, further erode food security, and prolong existing and create new poverty traps.”

“Renewable energy is recognized as a long-term solution to the global effort to avert and mitigate the effects of climate change and the impacts of our expanding energy use. It is worth noting that the Philippines has huge potential for renewable energy development. We must encourage more investments on RE because the Philippines is abundant in such. It is second in geothermal energy use and studies show that we have more than 200,000 potential renewable energy resources that remain untapped,” Legarda noted.

Legarda, co-author and co-sponsor of the Renewable Energy Law, noted that the Philippines has already established a legal framework that provides for necessary policy mechanisms for the development of the country’s renewable energy resources.

“We have one of the most comprehensive RE laws in the world that provide the framework of legal and institutional conditions necessary for the private sector to move renewable energy technologies into the market,” Legarda added.

“We have the laws in place, namely, the Philippine Biofuels Act and the Renewable Energy Act. It is only a matter of operationalizing and implementing them,” she said.

The Biofuels Act mandates the blending of biodiesel and ethanol in locally-distributed diesel and gasoline, while the Renewable Energy Law institutionalizes the use and development of renewable energy.

“It is about time that we take a consistent and deliberate effort to develop our own energy resources so that we can guarantee a legacy of clean, reliable and affordable energy for our future generation,” Legarda concluded.