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Loren Calls for Renewable Energy Progress Amid Japan Nuclear Disaster

April 7, 2011

SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA TODAY CALLED FOR AGGRESSIVE EFFORTS TO DEVELOP THE COUNTRY’S RENEWABLE ENERGY RESOURCES.
The call was made in the light of the spiraling price of oil in the global market and the public safety issues that have emerged from the crisis facing Japan’s Fukushima nuclear complex.
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committees on Foreign Relations and Climate Change, cautioned against taking the “nuclear path” to address the country’s energy needs.
In issuing this warning, the Senator noted that the government has allotted PhP100 million for a feasibility study that may usher in plans for a nuclear program. “We need clean energy that does not compromise public safety,” Legarda said.
In 2009, the ASEAN adopted the terms of reference (TOR) for the Nuclear Energy Cooperation Sub-sector Network (NEC-SSN). This body is intended to guide the region’s nuclear development route. Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia have seriously considered the nuclear option.
“It is important for ASEAN to carefully consider its future steps in the area of nuclear energy development given the lessons learned from recent developments in Japan. This is not about being at pace with the energy security race in the region. This is about the well-being of our people and the safety of our region,” Legarda emphasized.
Legarda cited that the crisis at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants continues as the Power Station releases tons of water contaminated with low levels of radiation into the Pacific Ocean.
“Leaders must choose a safer future for the people. Against a backdrop of increasing disaster and climate risks, I am renewing the call for the immediate development of the country’s renewable energy (RE) resources,” Legarda said.
“The country’s renewable energy potential is placed at 247,000MW. Developing even just a fifth of these potential will generate more than four times the country’s current power generating capacity,” Legarda emphasized.
Legarda, co-author of Republic Act 9513, or the Renewable Energy Act, pointed out that Renewable Energy resource mapping and careful planning are essential to developing an energy sector that is climate- and disaster-proof.
“Prolonged dry spells in Mindanao have contributed to rotating brownouts in the region because almost 60% of its power is sourced from hydro resources.”
“This underscores the need for a comprehensive National Renewable Energy Plan that will define, not just the targets, but more importantly, the specific steps that will be taken, including research and development efforts that will ensure the mainstreaming of renewable energy in ways that will respond to climate change realities.”
“Communities, in particular, stand to benefit the most from harnessing Renewable Energy resources. The so-called last mile communities can benefit from the potential of renewable energy resources which they host,” Legarda concluded.