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LGUs’ help sought in addressing electricity supply woes

Energy sector and development experts yesterday urged local government units (LGUs) to take initiatives to address electricity supply concerns by encouraging private investments in waste-to-energy projects, by offering incentives and opportunities for joint ventures through the public-private partnership (PPP) approach.

Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said that under a high economic growth scenario, the Philippines’ energy needs was seen to increase four-fold by 2040, by an average of 5.7 percent yearly.

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The government’s chief economist was speaking at the opening of the Forum on Renewable Energy and Waste-to-Energy PPPs held in Makati City and organized by the PPP Center in partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Pernia said that from 2014 to 2018, the country’s total energy consumption had been growing at an average of 4.22 percent per year.

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He noted that in 2018, electricity demand peaked at 14,782 megawatts while the country’s dependable energy supply was at 21,241 MW.

“While we must meet the power demand to sustain our economic growth, we must also find a way to grow without compromising our environment and draining our natural resources,” he said.

The forum focused on turning municipal solid waste into electricity considering that in 2016, the Philippines generated about 40,000 tons of waste every day. In Metro Manila alone, the volume was pegged at 9,000 tons daily.

Pernia said the PPP Center, together with the Environmental Management Bureau, had drafted a guide for local government units that covered all phases of solid waste management project cycle and provided an overview of the national solid waste management strategy.

He said the National Economic and Development Authority—the parent agency of PPP Center—had been working with ADB in formulating the country’s sustainable consumption and production framework and action plan.

“We aim to launch this action plan in September. The plan will be the backbone of green capitalism, where profit-maximization and environmental protection will go hand-in-hand, and in some cases, complementary to each other,” Pernia said.

According to Jose Layug Jr., president of Developers of Renewable Energy for Advancement Inc., LGUs should determine the available renewable energy resources in their areas and conduct feasibility studies.

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“[LGUs] should also ascertain the market for electricity and seek private capital,” Layug said. “They need to facilitate permits and licensing requirements.”

He said obvious demand for electricity from waste-to-energy projects was from areas that had not yet received power services.

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TAGS: electricity, Ernesto Pernia
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