By Joseph B.A. Marzan
Iloilo is the first local government unit to pass an ordinance that aims to develop and promote renewable energy, starting in the provincial government’s own facilities.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan adopted on Sept 14, 2022 the Iloilo Provincial Ordinance of Renewable Energy Ordinance of 2022 (I-PORE 2022).
The measure was introduced by Board Member Rolando Distura (4th district) and sponsored by Vice Governor Christine Garin and Board Members Marcelo Valentine Serag (1st district), Jason Gonzales (3rd district), and Domingo Oso (4th district).
This new ordinance adopts and adheres the measures provided by the national government with respect to Republic Act No. 9513 (Renewable Energy Act of 2008).
The ordinance primarily mandates the establishment of infrastructure and mechanisms on RE; encourage barangays, municipalities, and cities to identify and allocate possible sites for RE investments; and provide incentives according to the Provincial Investment Code.
The other salient features of the I-PORE include the allocation of proceeds from renewable energy projects to hospitals, facilities, buildings, and properties owned and operated by the Iloilo provincial government, the provincial government’s own projects, and public schools and government facilities inside the province.
The ordinance also includes an automatic appropriation of one-half of 1 percent of the province’s annual budget appropriations.
In his regular press conference on Thursday, Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. said that the Development for Renewable Energy Applications Mainstreaming and Market Sustainability (DREAMS) Project implemented by the Department of Energy at the Iloilo Provincial Hospital in Pototan town was the precursor to the province’s greater push for renewable energy.
Starting with solar energy, the provincial government will expand to its other hospitals and its other buildings, including the Provincial Capitol in Iloilo City.
Defensor may also tap into the hydroelectric power generated from the Jalaur River Multipurpose Project in Calinog town, but the province cannot solely rely on the megadam as the power it generates is “too small”.
It aims to promote the development, utilization, and eventual commercialization of renewable energy in the province, and its specific objectives include:
– Accelerating exploration and development of renewable energy resources to achieve energy self-reliance;
– Increasing utilization of renewable energy by institutionalizing the development of local climate change adaptation capabilities within the province;
– Encouraging the development and utilization of renewable energy resources as tools to effectively prevent harmful emissions thereby mitigating the effects of climate change;
– Establishing necessary infrastructure and mechanisms to carry out the stipulated mandates of the national government; and
– Encourage barangays, municipal, and city governments within the province to identify and allocate areas as possible sites for renewable energy investments and to provide incentives in reference to Provincial Ordinance No. 2021-259 (Provincial Investment Code) and their respective local investment codes.
The new edict also creates an Executive Committee on Renewable Energy, whose powers and functions are to:
– Implement policies, plans, and programs related to the accelerated development transformation, utilization, and commercialization of renewable energy resources and technology, including solar, wind energy, hydro-electric, and bio-mass energy, among others;
– Install a centralized and comprehensive database on renewable energy resources, development, utilization, demand, and technology application;
– Identify and promote the commercial application of renewable energy resources, including new and emerging technologies, for efficient and economical transformation, conversion, processing, marketing, and distribution to energy consumers;
– Conduct research on the socio-economic and environmental impact studies of renewable energy projects for further development;
– Monitor and evaluate public and private sector activities on renewable energy resources development and utilization to ensure their compliance;
– Provide information, consultation, technical training, and advisory services to developers, practitioners, and entities involved in renewable energy technology and develop renewable energy technology development strategies; and,
– Other necessary functions may include Climate Financing, and implementing grants and aid, among others.
This committee is headed by the Governor, with the Provincial Government Environment and Natural Resources (PGENRO) chief and the chairperson Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s Committee on Environment and Natural Resources as Vice Chairpersons.
Its other members include the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management and Provincial Engineering officers, local finance committee members, and the chairpersons of the provincial board’s committees on Disaster and Risk Reduction Management and Appropriations.