Press Release
October 20, 2023


As prices of oil spike and production are choked by war and politics, Senate President Juan Miguel "Migz" Zubiri said fossil-fuel dependent Philippines should tap its large renewable energy potentials, such as solar, hydro and wind, to lower electricity costs and tame inflation.

"If we can tap into the country's vast potential of renewable energy, especially solar, hydro and wind power generation, we can greatly reduce electricity costs in the country. Not only will it have a direct benefit to the people, it would also create favorable conditions for businesses to thrive," Zubiri said.

"I am a strong believer of renewable energy. We have the capability of becoming a renewable energy champion in Asia. Our problem is the red tape. It puts a dampener on the business community's enthusiasm to invest in renewal energy generation," Zubiri, a long-time champion of environmental conservation and sustainability, said.

Known as Mr. Clean Energy, the Senate chief is known as the author and sponsor of the Renewable Energy Law of 2008, as well as for spearheading legislative efforts to enact the Biofuels Act of 2006.

Zubiri said the Philippines can easily be Asia's leader and champion for renewable energy, but red tape hinders the efforts of businesses to capitalize on this potential and make waves in the area of clean power.

As of now, Zubiri continued, renewable energy accounts for over a fifth or 22.13% of the total energy generation in the country in 2022 with 24,684 GWh generated, while coal accounts for 59.56% or 66,430 GWh, quoting the Department of Energy's Summary of 2022 Power Statistics.

Of the total energy generated from renewable sources last year, the following is the breakdown according to kind of clean energy: geothermal, 10,425 GWh; hydro, 10,085 GWh; biomass, 1,322 Gwh; solar, 1,822 GWh; and wind, 1,030 GWh.

"But we have to address red tape that has been discouraging businesses from setting up renewable energy ventures. I have been talking to several businessmen and investors, and this is their common answer: they are frustrated with bureaucratic red tape," he added.

The Senate President said one way to solve this problem is to give "more teeth" to the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) to enforce Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business Act of 2018 that mandates expedited periods for the application of permits and licenses.

"We really need enforcement for the Ease of Doing Business Act. Kulang eh. Walang kinakasuhan, walang kinukulong. Kawawa 'yung mga business people. If we can solve that, then we can create an investment regime that is conducive for local and foreign direct investors," Zubiri, who himself owns a renewable energy business, explained.

"Mura na lang ang mga solar panels ngayon, pati pagtatayo ng hydro and wind energy plants. They are now cheaper to produce and operate. We can bring down the prices of electricity hanggang P5 per kilowatt hour. But we just have to help these investors to make this a reality," he continued, adding that last September, the price of electricity averaged P11 per kWh.

According to the US-based National Renewable Energy Lab, the Philippines has an average solar resource potential of 5.1 kWh per square meter per day.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), meanwhile, said the country has 11,055 kilometers of land in areas where wind speeds reach 6.4 to 10.1 meters per second, ideal conditions to support more than 76,000 MW of potential installed capacity.

For hydropower, the DOE said the untapped resource potential of the Philippines is estimated at 13,097 MW.

"We can be the largest producer of hydro energy within the region of Southeast Asia. But do you know how difficult it is to put up a hydro plant in the provinces? Napakahirap. So I really believe that we have a good law - the Ease of Doing Business - but we have to step up on enforcement," Zubiri said.

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