Governments urged to give renewable energy a major push for greater number of consumers

By Philippines News Agency – March 23, 2017

from Business Mirror

Governments should craft and implement policies that will give renewable energy (RE) the much-needed push to make it available to the great majority of people.

The statement was made by Ganesh Pangare, regional director for Asia Pacific of the International Water Association (IWA), on the sidelines of the ongoing Water Philippines Expo 2017. The biennial event for the first time features RE as part of the exhibition, apart from 120 different products and services in water supply, sanitation, wastewater treatment and water purification.

Pangare pointed out that RE is mostly used by the private sector or individual entrepreneurs.

”I think, there also has to be a policy angle in the terms that governments can’t just keep a blind eye that this is happening. I think, we do need more investment coming from the state. Some of the poorest of the poor don’t have energy…while the rich are getting subsidized fossil energy. That is the disparity that I am trying to highlight,” Pangare said in an interview with the Philippines News Agency.

He noted a large portion of Asia does not enjoy a stable 24/7 supply of power they can use on demand.

By using solar technology and distribution generation, people living in rural or isolated areas will be able to enjoy a continuous supply of electricity, he added.

“Renewable energy provides a fixed, assured energy source and, therefore, farmers can irrigate when the crop needs irrigation, and then the resource ground water is saved because they will be taking out only what they need and not pumping out and storing it and then just wasting it,” Pangare said.

Today, with the advances in technology, solar products have become more affordable that even farmers with a small piece of land could buy his own solar-power generator to water his farm, he said.

The same solar energy has enabled people living in remote areas to use cell phones, Pangare added.

“In villages in India, people had no telephone connections and now, everybody has mobile phones, and with renewable energy or solar, people can charge their mobile phones,” he said.

On conserving water resources, Pangare emphasized the need to find a solution to the wastage of non-revenue water.

“[Nonrevenue water] is basically water lost by the utility somewhere in the course of distribution and, therefore, does not get charged to the customer. This loss can go as high as 60 percent, sometimes. Therefore, not only did we lose 60 percent of the water, but we also lost 60 percent of the energy needed to transport that water,” he pointed out.

Pangare related that two years ago, India established a Ministry of Renewable Energy and has since made RE a viable alternative source, especially for rural areas.

“For a country with a population of 1.2 billion, trying to get targets of 20 percent to 25 percent based on renewable [sources], it has to be done on a mission mode. Everybody has to come together—government, the private sector, entrepreneurs—all of them have to come together, but at least, the thrust has come from the government. It’s a very positive thing,” he said.

Water Philippines Expo, held every two years since 2011, features the latest products in water supply and sanitation, sewerage, industrial-wastewater practices, trends and technologies. This year’s exhibition not only showcases products, technology and services in the water and RE  industry. Visitors may also attend seminars and lectures on technical subjects, such as climate change, water-supply efficiency, and water quality and sanitation initiatives.

The exhibition, organized by the Philippine Waterworks Association, runs until Friday (March 24) at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.