April 22, 2012
ANGARA ON RE: "CAUTION SHOULD NOT TURN INTO FOOT-DRAGGING"
Senator Edgardo J. Angara lamented the slow implementation of the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 (RA 9513), which has exacerbated the country's energy issues.
With 13 other senators, Angara sponsored the bill, which many like the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) described as one of the most comprehensive and forward-looking renewable energy laws in the world.
"Ours has remained a laggard economy because we have not dealt with our energy problems decisively," Angara explained in a speech delivered on his behalf by Luis T. Arriola of Asean Biztimes at the recent 2nd Philippine Renewable Energy Summit. "Energy is an area that requires clear vision and a definite direction."
Angara emphasized that this direction was already charted by the Renewable Energy Act, adding, "We had already arrived on a solution long before the recent spate of rotating brownouts in Mindanao happened."
The veteran lawmaker noted that while the Department of Energy (DOE) has already approved 268 renewable energy service contracts since 2009, important policy mechanisms provided in the RE Law have yet to be implemented on account of ongoing deliberations.
Some of these mechanisms include the Renewable Portfolio Standards, guidelines on net metering and Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), and the FIT (feed-in-tariff) system.
"While we should weigh matters of immense public interest carefully, we also should not allow reflection to turn into inaction," said Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology. "Caution should not evolve into foot-dragging that translates into an unresponsive, short-sighted energy policy."
Around $5 billion worth of potential investments is said to have gone elsewhere, due to the slow pace of development.
The country has the potential to generate almost 261,000 MW of clean energy from the combined capacity of geothermal, wind, ocean and hydropower resources.
Around 40 percent of the country's primary energy mix is already renewable, with 26 percent of the actual power generated�approximately 17,800 Gigawatt-hours--is sourced from RE.
"We can do better considering that we are the second largest producer of geothermal energy in the world, next only to the United States. We are also the top wind power producer in Southeast Asia, and we receive double the solar flux European countries get in a year," urged Angara. "Unfortunately, we are not maximizing this potential or the regulatory framework we had endeavoured to put in place."
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