Greenpeace unimpressed by e-tricycle project
MANILA, Philippines—The government is set to roll-out $500 million electric tricycles (e-trikes) in several resort islands and Metro Manila to reduce dependence on imported oil and cut pollution.
So why isn’t Greenpeace, an international environment advocate, impressed?
Anna Abad, Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, said the project, while promising to be clean, doesn’t promote use of sustainable renewable energy. She dismissed it as basically a political gimmick.
While it reduces the transport sector’s consumption of gasoline, the project ties up the government with coal since the e-trikes would be plugged to conventional power source, Abad said.
“You will then increase the demand for electricity that is plugged to coal,” she said. “The main concern for this is that it doesn’t provide the transformation change. For a sustainable transport to be sustainable, it should be powered by renewable energy.”
The government and the Asian Development Bank planned to roll out 20,000 units of the energy-efficient e-trikes in Boracay, Puerto Princesa and some parts of the capital this year, and if this succeeds, will deploy an additional 80,000 units.
“It’s surprising why all of a sudden the government is investing in something like this during an election period,” Abad said in an interview. “In a way, it’s political.”
She believes the government is trying to hit two birds with one stone by endearing itself to local officials ahead of next year’s mid-term elections, and boosting investments in coal through this project.
To power the tricycle, Abad said the government should instead explore and invest in renewable energy, such as solar power and biomass. This was the main idea behind the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, she added.
“Why not marry this project with renewable energy?” she said.
The Department of Energy (DOE) has obtained the Monetary Board’s approval to proceed with the rollout of the project that would be funded with $300 million from the Asian Development Bank, $100 million from the government, and $100 million from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF).
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