Clean-power advocates call for more investments in renewable energy

by Roderick AbadJune 20, 2016

from Business Mirror

MORE investments on clean energy are seen to accelerate the Philippines’s goal to mitigate its carbon emission by 2030 and eventual transition to renewable energy (RE) by 2050.

Cleantech Venture expert Charles Cole Navarro said around $1.26 trillion worth of investment in energy efficiency, RE and energy access is needed annually worldwide.

Given such amount of commitment to help solve climate change, he said only 30 percent of the requirement is met at present.

For energy efficiency, there’s only $130-billion actual investment out of the $560-billion needed funding.

Meanwhile, he added that around $258 billion from the $650 billion and $9 billion out of the $49 billion are put in RE and energy access, respectively.

“So there’s such a big gap,” he said during the recently concluded launch of Impact Hub’s Fellowship Program, in partnership with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines and Peace and Equity Foundation.

While there are no available figures regarding sustainable and clean-energy investments in the Philippines, Navarro said capitalization in such areas is also expected to be lacking here. “[So] the main solution is to encourage more entrepreneurs to get in this space,” he told the BusinessMirror at a sideline interview.

In particular, he encouraged high net-worth individuals and overseas Filipino workers to invest in sustainable energy.  He also cited the potential contribution of retired citizens as mentors who deem the environmental cause a worthy venture.

Besides providing opportunities to entrepreneurs, an increase in clean-energy investments would also aid the Department of Energy’s (DOE) aim to triple RE capacity by 2030, under the National Renewable Energy Plan, which lessens greenhouse gases to help meet the national target of reducing its emission by 70 percent in the same year.

This initiative is part of the Philippines’s intended nationally determined contribution to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Navarro conceded this objective is unattainable unless the DOE incorporates mini grids and other alternative distribution mechanisms for energy in their plan, and not just leave the private sector to solve it.

“The Philippines is not comparable to other countries because we’re an archipelago. So, you can’t extend the grid. It’s definitely going to be a mix,” he said. “On a national level, when you plan, there should be mini grids. But at present, there is none. We’re [still] very traditional.”

Sharing the same idea with him, WWF Philippines Vice President for Sustainable Production and Market Engagement Dr. Ria Lambino called for more investments, while saying that support toward fast-tracking researches and ideas on RE can make these goals an earlier reality.

“The simplest ideas can change the world, and most of it are already present in the minds of the people,” she said. “But what they [entrepreneurs] need is the space that can turn those dreams into reality.”

Lambino said the RE sector is getting economically competitive, sensing the market may soon be flooded with RE products, leaving insufficient space for fossil fuels or coal.

Citing the 2003 study conducted by WWF Philippines, she said the country is very rich in indigenous resources that can be utilized to produce clean energy.

The organization’s research, she said, also established the feasibility of the Philippines’s shift to RE, noting it can be harnessed in clean-energy technologies, such as wind- and biomass-energy conversion systems, as well as hydroelectric-power plants.

All these, Lambino said, are helpful in augmenting the country’s RE portfolio, which is at 32 percent of dependable capacity, and meeting the call for global transition from fossil fuel use to RE sources by 2050.

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