HB 2027 – Renewable Energy Act (Explanatory Note)

FOURTEENTH CONGRESS )
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES )
FIRST REGULAR SESSION )


HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

House Bill No. 2027

 

Introduced by Representative Lorenzo R. Tañada III

EXPLANATORY NOTE

The volatile situation on world fossil fuel prices, the rampaging and worsening impacts of largely C02-propelled climate change and the increasing toxic risks faced by communities hosting coal plants warrants a serious strategic reconsideration of the energy pathway so far chosen by the Philippines. New renewable energy (NRE) alternatives must be harnessed by the country to protect the environment, to provide jobs and to strengthen the country’s energy independence.

The Philippines is among the most vulnerable regions when it comes to climate change impacts. Recent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), predict cataclysmic impacts if the world fails to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The frequency of extreme weather events like super typhoons and droughts which have visited the country in recent memory offer us a glimpse of what awaits us should climate change worsen.

A report released by Greenpeace early this year entitled “The Philippines: A Climate Hotspot” gives an overview of how extreme weather events and sea level rise threaten the country’s people, economy, species, and ecosystems. Notably, the report shows how: 1) only 1 of the 16 regions of the Philippines is not vulnerable to a one meter rise in sea level, 2) the regions and provinces most susceptible to sea level rise, extreme weather events, and landslides are also among those with the highest poverty incidence, and 3) the cost of the impacts of extreme weather events brought about by typhoons and increased rainfall, already in the hundred millions, is steadily rising.

And yet such urgency has yet to be translated into clear energy policy.

NRE technologies such as wind, solar and modern biomass today represent less than 0.2% of the overall Philippine power mix.

The renewable energy resource of the Philippines is enormous. Wind energy potential alone reaches up to 70,000 MW, which represents close to seven times the country’s total energy demand today. Solar power is abundant in the country and is capable of producing 1500 hours of power annually at 5 kilowatt hours per square meter per day. Solar energy in the Philippines possesses one of the highest efficiency ratings in the world. The combined commercially viable modern biomass potential within a ten-year planning period from diverse sources such as sugar cane bagasse and rice and coconut residue is over 2,300 MW while mini hydropower has a total resource potential of 1,132 MW.

With implicit ecologically harmful subsidies on fossil fuels still firmly in place, and, in the absence of environmental taxes that reflect the real costs of fossil-fueled energy generation, the key challenge facing the country at is how to create a policy environment that will increase the electricity share of renewable energy in electricity consumption. For instance, payment mechanisms like environmental taxes can be put in place as compensation for the lack of internalization of external costs arising from the use of fossil fuel sources, particularly coal.

Sadly, it is tremendously difficult to harness the country’s abundant renewable energy potential due to the prevailing bias in favor of dirty and ultimately costly fossil fuel-generated power. Renewable energy (RE) in the Philippines is up against a market which heavily favors the use of fossil fuels such as coal. In order for RE technologies to gain a foothold in the Philippine power sector, it is necessary and urgent to adopt a renewable energy policy that promotes the massive utilization of clean energy. Equally important is to find a good policy mix so that there is energy security and sovereignty and greater environmental benefits to the Philippines.

In view of the foregoing, early passage of this bill is earnestly sought.

REP. LORENZO R. TAÑADA III

4th District, Quezon Province

 

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