Poe wants more solar, wind power for country
Presidential race frontrunner Sen. Grace Poe wants cleaner sources of energy in the country to power up the homes of some 15 million Filipinos, particularly in remote areas, who still have no access to electricity.
Poesaid she would push for the development of more solar and wind power sources, if she wins, as these were more sustainable and environment-friendly.
“Ang kailangan natin ay renewable sources of energy. Dagdagan natin yung wind power, yung mga windmills, yung mga solar panels, yung mga hydro-electric energy producers. Lahat ‘yan dapat mag-invest po tayo para naman pagdating ng pagkakataon ay mas maging malinis ang ating energy sources at mas mura,” Poe said.
The Philippines has one of the highest electricity rates in Asia. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, electricity accounted for 4.5 percent of a Filipino household’s expenditures in 2012.
The Manila Electric Company (MERALCO), the largest electric distributor in the Philippines, charges P7.4176 per kilowatt-hour as of December 2015.
To increase renewable energy share in the market, Poe said the government needs to encourage more private investments in the energy sector, especially as the country’s energy requirement increases with its population.
As per Department of Energy estimates, the Philippines will need an additional 11,400 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity to meet the energy demand from 2016 to 2030. The additional requirement is distributed as follows: 8,100 MW in Luzon; 1,700 MW in Visayas; and 1,600 MW in Mindanao.
When she announced her presidential bid in September last year, Poe mentioned renewable energy development in her 20-point government agenda, if she wins.
“Siguraduhin po natin na magiging sapat ang kuryente para sa lumalagong ekonomiya. Paunlarin natin kasabay nito ang renewable energy,” Poe had said in her proclamation speech.
Poe, who will visit Abra on Thursday, called on the government to implement the mechanisms of the Renewable Energy Act of 2008. These include the establishment of the Renewable Energy Market, which will mandate power distributors to source a portion of their energy from renewable energy suppliers.
She said the lack of a market for renewables are hindering the development of cleaner power, which has a high upfront cost for development.
To set an example, the senator said the government can study the possibility of installing solar panels in government buildings, which would be cheaper and more sustainable in the long term.
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