December 15, 2011
European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines
At a forum organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), Senator Edgardo J. Angara urged the government to consider programs that will deploy renewable energy (RE) technologies as national initiatives. Angara, author of the RE Law of 2008, recalled how President Fidel V. Ramos used special emergency powers vested by Congress to address the national power crisis during his presidency. "We have power barges in the energy mix precisely because of such emergency powers. Admittedly, there were some excesses in implementation. But the concept of bringing certain projects to the national level to expedite them is sound," said Angara.
Earlier, Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said he is pushing for a law that will elevate certain energy facilities as projects of national significance to generate investments but he did not specify whether renewable energy projects are included.
"We should declare our renewable energy resources as strategic national assets because once we do, we can bypass some regulatory requirements of LGU's and get the job done sooner," stressed Angara. The veteran lawmaker underscored that tapping only a fraction of the potential in geothermal, wind, ocean and hydropower resources could supply 20 years' worth of the country's energy consumption. National consumption amounted to 66 gigawatt-hours in 2010. He also stressed that small-scale solar systems and stand-alone wind turbines could be deployed to give energy access to almost 15 million Filipinos currently without electricity.
"We've got to utilize our indigenous energy resources to reduce our dependence on foreign-sourced fossil fuels," said Angara. "What we need is leadership or else we'll be left in local squabbling. We might mistake the forest for the trees and not see that the country is not moving forward in renewables.
Source: Senate of the Philippines (senate.gov.ph); News; 14 December 2011