Press Release
June 15, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara said that the government needs to take heed of the global efforts to move away from fossil fuels and move toward integrating renewable energy (RE) into the national energy mix.

Angara made the statement after the Department of Energy (DOE) launched its National Renewable Energy Plan (NREP) yesterday. Based on the NREP, the government aims to have the country's energy mix consist of 50 percent RE by 2030. Renewable energy sources, primarily geothermal and hydropower, currently make up 35 percent of the mix. The Philippines is the second biggest producer of geothermal energy in the world, next only to the United States.

"We need to recognize that RE is the future of energy. Most governments around the world are listening to their scientists and experts, making bold moves to invest in RE sources. If we move slowly, we will be left behind," Angara emphasized.

He said that critics of renewables in the government and private sector are hesitant to embrace new technologies due to concerns that they are unproven unlike like coal and fossil fuels.

"But the extensive worldwide R&D going into RE is making sure the technologies will be affordable and efficient sooner than later. Experts believe that grid parity - or the point at which the cost of producing electricity through alternative means is as cheap as the prevailing grid power - is within reach," Angara said.

Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), said that the commission has been working closely with the RE industry to jumpstart the local market and help government recognize the viability of wind, solar, biomass and other RE sources.

Angara pointed out that technology conglomerate General Electric (GE), the largest wind turbine supplier in the United States and one of the world's biggest, has predicted that solar will likely become cheaper than fossil fuels in five years owing to innovations.

Google is also helping develop greener sources of power in line with its corporate goal of producing no net greenhouse emissions. It recently agreed to invest $280 million in a home solar program that will help homeowners put solar panels on their rooftops.

Angara, author of the Philippines' Renewable Energy Law, added that even the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is backing the development of solar in the Asia-Pacific region, targeting 3,000 MW installations by 2013. The ADB is planning to invest $2.25 billion in financing solar projects, with an additional $6.75 billion to be funded from the private sector.

"Renewable energy, especially solar power, is a potential game-changer. These technologies will only grow much cheaper in costs and higher in efficiency as innovations are continually made," he said.

Angara continued, "The government should encourage - and lead - the aggressive development of RE. It will create a wealth of high-paying, 'green' jobs and industries, while also promoting cleaner, alternative energy sources. It is a winning proposition for our country."

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