Chiz urges more schools to turn to renewable energy
Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero has urged more universities and colleges to follow the lead of Silliman University in Dumaguete City, which is on its way to becoming the first academic institution in the country to run completely on solar power.
Silliman recently signed an agreement with First Solar Orion Energy Solutions Inc. (FSO), one of the largest producers of solar power in the world, to install in the 62-hectare campus a 1.2-megawatt solar power generating capacity to supply the power needs of the university.
“We commend Silliman University for this milestone and we also encourage other educational institutions to promote the use of renewable energy (RE) in order to show the world that we are faithful in our commitment to reduce carbon emissions in the country,” said Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.
The Silliman-FSO deal was signed on December 18, or five days after the Philippines pledged to stop global warming and signed the historic climate accord in Paris, along with nearly 200 nations.
“We should be proud that even schools have the initiative to use renewable sources because we need collaborative effort to be able to achieve a sustainable energy system and to end this fossil fuel era,” Escudero said.
Escudero had welcomed the Paris accord as “an important milestone especially for countries that are most vulnerable to climate change impacts like the Philippines.”
As Senate environment chief, Escudero also expressed his willingness to work with policymakers for the crafting and passage of new legislation that would help the country fulfill its climate change commitments.
The deal, agreed at the UN talks in Paris, lays the foundation for countries to work together in trying to limit the global temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius, well below the level of 2 degrees Celsius that is likely to signal the worst effects of climate change.
The agreement also requires developed nations to continue to provide funding to help less developed countries cut their carbon emissions and adapt to the challenges posed by the changing climate.
In a statement, Silliman said its agreement with FSO further bolsters its environmental advocacy and “walks its talk in reducing its carbon footprint” as its share in helping achieve the country’s climate commitments.
Under the deal, the university will be the principal consumer and FSO will be the developer and supplier of the solar power.
The cost of the solar energy consumption will be 20 percent less per kilowatt hour than what they are currently paying Negros Oriental Electric Cooperative II.
At the same time, FSO pledges to provide free solar power to 240 poor families living around Silliman.
According to data from the Department of Energy (DOE), only 37 percent of power generated in 2014 was sourced from renewable energy sources while 63 percent was sourced from non-renewable sources of power.
However, DOE intends to triple the increase of the country’s RE capacity to 15,304 megawatts by 2030 from 5,438 megawatts in 2010.
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