DOE urged to strengthen energy-efficiency policy

by Lenie Lectura – March 14, 2016

from Business Mirror

A group of energy-efficiency stakeholders wants to expand the coverage of a proposed Department of Energy (DOE) energy-efficiency circular due for release by the end of the month.

The Philippine Energy Efficiency Alliance Inc. (PE2) hopes that an expanded DOE circular would include obligations of medium and large energy consumers that may potentially serve as a bridge policy while efforts are under way to pass urgent legislation.

“There has been no energy efficiency and conservation law in the Philippines in the last 36 years. We believe that policies shifting toward energy efficiency, rather than energy conservation, support economic growth instead of stifling it,” PE2 President Alexander Ablaza said.

Formerly known as the Philippine Association of Energy Service Cos., PE2 is organized to mobilize the support, not only of energy service companies, but also of other energy-efficiency market players, such as technology and solutions providers, engineering, procurement and construction service providers, consultants, investors, financiers, financial institutions, commercial and industrial end-users, and large energy conservation and renewable-energy program implementing agencies.

“Energy efficiency is the fastest, most cost-effective means to create energy supply buffers and to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions,” said Ablaza, an energy-efficiency practitioner with Asia-wide experience.

The Philippines has committed to reduce greenhouse-gas emission by 70 percent by 2030 relative to its businesses-as-usual scenario of 2000 to 2030.

The appeal to the DOE to come out with a stronger energy-efficiency policy is also meant to accelerate the country’s compliance to a low carbon energy sector.

“We commend the DOE for coming out with the circular as this is a step in the right direction. However, we must broaden the coverage of the circular if we want to achieve our 2030 energy intensity and emission-reduction targets,” Ablaza said.

PE2 and the Energy Efficiency Practitioners Association of the Philippines believe that a broader DOE department circular will need to be aligned with Congress’s approved substitute bill on energy efficiency and conservation approved recently by the House of Representatives Committee on Energy.

“The circular becomes the bridge policy while we are waiting for the passage of the bill. We are still hopeful that the bill will be passed soon,” Ablaza said.

Among the proposed inclusions in the circular includes the obligations of all establishments consuming at least 2 gigawatt-hours annually, which include the employment of an energy manager, conduct of energy audits every three years, and targeted reductions, among others.

Ablaza said energy-efficiency coverage of the circular should not only be limited to the households, selected transport sector under the proposed minimum energy performance standards of technologies largely utilized by households but should cut across all other energy-consuming sectors.

Ablaza added that attaining the Philippines’s energy efficiency roadmap goals will need investment of around an estimated P8.3 trillion in private-sector investments to reduce final energy demand by 2030.

The investments will be offset by the P19.7-trillion energy savings that can be achieved by reducing final energy demand by 125 million tons of oil equivalent by 2030, he said.