Photo by AC Energy

Country now in state of climate justice, passing mitigation 

The Philippines’ energy industry has to make and carry out firm decisions to become more independent and resilient as it has now arrived at a state of climate justice, which is well beyond mere mitigation.  Its 53-percent energy sufficiency level also has to increase and can be strengthened by tapping into renewable energy resources. Government officials and industry leaders from the energy sector reached this conclusion during the recent webinar, “Energy in Sustainability: Renewable Energy Solutions at the Core of Climate Crisis,” conducted by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) in partnership with the Philippine Energy Independence Council (PEIC). 

During this session, which is part of the 2021 Energy Smart Forum Series, the delegates investigated requirements for national energy sustainability framework, presented solutions to enhance power-generation capabilities, and came up with a roadmap towards the use of cleaner energy sources by 2040 to prevent an energy crisis.

First, the Department of Energy (DOE) Director of the Energy Policy and Planning Bureau Jesus T. Tamang contextualized the current state of renewable energy in the Philippines in the ASEAN. He noted, “Our energy self-sufficiency is about 53-percent, which represents the share of our region’s energy sources to total. At the level of 34-percent share of renewable energy in 2020, the Philippines remains to have the highest renewable energy share in total primary energy supply among all the ASEAN countries. This puts us at the forefront of the sustainability game in the region.”

Then, Eric Francia, President and CEO of AC Energy and PEIC board member, asserted the necessity for the Philippines to be energy-independent, saying, “An opportunity that the country has set is to increase its target renewables output from 21-percent to 35-percent by 2030. Renewables definitely have a major, major role to play. Energy independence is a critical imperative in this day and age.”

PEIC Secretary Dr. Antonio Gabriel La Viña emphasized that the Philippines is in “a stage of climate justice and no longer a stage of mitigation. The decision must be done in a just way.”  He also asserted, “We are not ambitious enough to ask for the money that is owed us for climate finance. We can fund big energy projects, big forestry projects, and big agricultural projects if we just think big enough.”

Don Paulino, President of PEIC, also said that progress can be achieved by an informed collaboration between the government, the private sector, and the general public. He said, “There needs to be an active request and participation by other people in the country. We need to demand from our leaders, whether it’s the public, the government, or the private sector, to think about climate change. You have a voice, by educating yourself, by being a part of the public discourse, and by actively campaigning. We need to make sure that public issues on energy are properly discussed so that by 2040, 2050, we’ll actually be carbon neutral as a country.”

Attorney Paola Alvarez, Department of Finance Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson, expressed the urgency of climate change action, saying, “The Philippines is at the forefront of a global movement seeking climate justice. We look forward to more collaboration with our international partners and the private sector to achieve our climate ambition. We have only one planet and all of us must act decisively today in order to save it.”

PEIC, ECCP, DOE leaders join experts and industry captains on energy sector for first 2021 Energy Smart Forum webinar. 

The session, which was hosted by Gerry Constantino, ECCP Director for Projects, Events, and Training, and moderated by energy journalist Myrna Velasco, also reviewed concrete action points, moving forward to achieve the country’s sustainability goals by at least 2030. 

Nazrin Camille Castro, Branch Manager at The Climate Reality Project Philippines, was hopeful about innovation and development in the economy that will continue to support the transition towards clean energy, “The Philippines is now ready to modernize its power system. The need for a clean energy transition in the Philippines is more on the matter of modernizing its economy, delivering affordable power to the Filipino people, and driving energy self-sufficiency.”

DOE Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella drew focus on the technical developments in the country’s energy sector that help progress the nation towards a more sustainable future, “We have emphasized the competitive renewable energy zones,” he said. “It’s where to put these renewable energy developments that are already easier to connect to the grid so that we can reach our goals, and rolling out the green energy option for the contracting of the smaller plants and partnering them directly to contestable customers.”

Rising costs are among the many challenges that have arisen in the journey towards sustainability, usually found in erecting the infrastructural support needed to generate and maintain clean energy sources.  However, Emmanuel Yu, Executive Director of Ditrolic Solar Philippines Inc., pointed out a silver lining, “The renewable sector has been growing by more than 100% since 2017. With the increased capacity, new technology, and better efficiency, the cost of renewable energy has been going down to the point that the levelized cost of electricity now is lower than the price from the ground energy sector.”

HSBC Chief ASEAN Economist Joseph Incalcaterra also acknowledged, ““In terms of financing renewables in the Philippines, the cost is large, but with public-private partnership and the right regulations, it will be doable.”

Ruth Yu-Owen, Chair of the ECCP Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Committee, highlighted the importance of the forum series as it explores the future of the nation’s energy, saying, “Energy is interconnected with all aspects of our daily life. To create a safe and secure future for all, we need to ensure that not only the country’s energy demand is met, but that also its environmental and sustainability goals are achieved.”

PEIC Executive Director Amor Maclang reinforces the urgent call towards Philippine energy security and independence in the face of climate change saying, “We need to intensify our efforts towards indigenous energy explorations within the country’s jurisdiction. That will support our road to energy independence. The climate crisis concerns us all, and we should take part in solving it in whatever way we can.”

The Philippine Energy Independence Council consists of energy advocates who, through public discourse and lobbying, aim to secure an energy-independent Philippines. For more information on membership and organization activities, please contact PEIC via their Facebook page:

Source: Manila Bulletin (