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Solon renews call to pursue renewable energy development in PHL

July 19, 2018

LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte — A lawmaker, who is a staunch advocate on environmental protection and preservation, has renewed call to scale up green initiatives and 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.

Senator Loren Legarda, one of the authors of the Renewable Energy Law, made the call during the recent Convergence for 100% Renewable Energy Philippines, a symposium on Challenges Faced by Stakeholders in Advancing Renewable Energy in the Philippines, convened by the Power to People Coalition.

“I ask our policy implementors to observe closely enough the examples of other countries such as Sweden, Germany, the United Kingdom, Costa Rica, China, Brazil, India, among others, so they can begin to appreciate the rise of renewables in many countries around the world – not as symbolical gestures of support to climate action – but because it is what we need today, not just from a social and ecological standpoint, but also from an economic viewpoint,” Legarda said.

Legarda noted that the Philippines has already established a legal framework that provides for the necessary policy mechanisms for the development of the country’s renewable energy resources, but despite these programs, there is still much to be done in terms of implementation.

“Our laws are hailed as among the best in the world, but without strict and effective implementation, they are of very little use. Ten years after the adoption of the RE Law, the country, unfortunately, continues to heavily depend on coal-fired power and imported coal,” Legarda said

“We cannot claim energy independence for as long as we rely on imported fuel. Unless we are willing to embrace the reality that RE is a global phenomenon that is beginning to replace coal and fossil fuels as a cheaper fuel source, our energy policies will continue to waver, reflecting the lack of political commitment that will consequently drive investors away,” Legarda added.

The Senator also cited the report of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), that with deceleration of the cost of renewables, all renewable energy technologies should be competitive on price with fossil fuels by 2020.

According to IRENA, the cost of generating power from onshore wind has fallen by around 23% since 2010, while the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity has fallen by 73%. Other estimates even indicated that solar-powered electricity costs have declined by 90%, while the cost of wind-powered generation has fallen 50% since 2009.[1]

Price comparisons by IRENA and recent results of Philippine auctions showed that onshore wind schemes are now costing an average of $0.06 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), solar at a range of $0.05 to $0.10 per kWh, while electricity generated by fossil fuels typically falls in the range of $0.05 to $0.17 per kWh.

“For the country to enjoy the benefits of the rapid advancement and increasing affordability of renewable energy, the right decisions need to be made. There is a need to broaden the country’s energy options in ways that will allow us to integrate RE into the power system,” Legarda said.

“Finally, fair competition is a goal we seek to achieve in the power sector. We need to set our priorities, not just based on a limited view that if we build more power plants, regardless of its source, we can achieve development. If we are serious about meeting our goal of providing access to energy for all, we need to look at RE as a strategic alternative that will foster sustainable growth, energy independence and economic security for the country,” said Legarda.

Source: Manila Bulletin