Legarda: Time to Climate-Proof Energy Sector, Prioritize RE Development

January 26, 2014

Senator Loren Legarda today renewed her call for more investments in renewable energy as part of a long-term solution to the growing power needs of the country and 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 Clean Technology Congress 2014 organized by ThomasLloyd in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


“The aftermath of Haiyan was an eye-opener for us Filipinos. The devastation it caused made us realize that we need to climate- and disaster-proof our energy sector,” Legarda said.


Typhoon Haiyan left more than 6,000 dead and nearly 2,000 missing. Damages and losses are estimated at P571.1 billion (equivalent to USD 12.9 billion).[1]


Legarda, co-author and co-sponsor of the Philippine 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 the laws in place, namely, the Philippine Biofuels Act and the Renewable Energy Act. These laws are there and 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.


“We should take advantage of the current increased interest in renewable energy. 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.


“Even the Asian Development Bank acknowledges that there is an increase in clean energy investment in the Asia-Pacific region, attracting USD 101 billion of investments in clean energy for the year 2012 alone,” she added.


“It is about time that we take a consistent and deliberate effort to develop our own energy resources in ways that we can guarantee the future generations of Filipinos a legacy of clean, reliable and affordable energy,” Legarda added.


Aside from Legarda, the event brought together world-renowned speakers Dr. Justin Yifu Lin, former Chief Economist and Vice President of the World Bank; Professor Peter Guthrie, Professor of Engineering for Sustainable Development at the University of Cambridge; and former US President Bill Clinton.


Dr. Lin discussed about the “golden age of Asia” and its growth potential, while Professor Guthrie touched on the need to re-evaluate the concept of the “grid-based” energy model, encouraging the use of renewable energy in off-grid areas.


President Clinton, on the other hand, stressed the need to enhance one’s “relationship with the planet” by means of reducing emissions and promoting investments in the development of renewable energy sources, most especially in solar energy and biomass.***

[1] Reconstruction Assistance on Yolanda. NEDA, 2013.