Think-tank pushes for 100% RE to end energy poverty, address accessibility woes

Speaking at one of the largest gatherings of energy players in the Philippines, the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) on Monday reiterated its call for the urgent shift to 100% renewable energy in light of successive outages, high electricity prices, and unparalleled warm weather experienced by Filipinos today.

CEED Deputy Executive Director Atty. Avril de Torres spoke at the ‘Driving Rural Electrification with Solar’ panel at the Future Energy Show 2023, highlighting the state of electrification in the country which leaves many communities, in both rural and urban areas, still without access to electricity

“According to the 40th EPIRA report, Household Electrification Level is at 95%, with NPC-SPUG having the lowest electrification rate at 76% for missionary areas. Although it seems like a small percentage of unelectrified communities, we must put this into context. It’s been more than two decades since the enactment of the EPIRA, which had the goal of total electrification, yet there are many communities without electricity, and those that do have access to electricity are burdened with high prices. Intensifying changes in our climate, like the terribly warm weather we are experiencing this summer, dictate that allowing some of our countrymen to keep having no electricity access should not be an option,” said de Torres.

Even before the Russia and Ukraine War, the Philippines had the most electricity rates in Asia, second only to Japan. Today power rates have nearly doubled compared to the same period last year.

“Amid skyrocketing power rates, this assertion to move forward affordable and reliable people’s renewable energy is extremely timely. The government would do well to prioritize existing renewable energy policies such as the Green Energy Option Program (GEOP) and Rules for Distributed Energy Resources (DER) and even the President himself has said that he is bent on shifting to renewable energy. Instead of steering us yet to another detour through fossil gas and other questionable technologies, we should heed the call of the Filipinos whose cry for energy democracy has always been stifled,” de Torres added.

The renewable energy potential estimates for the Philippines include over 800 GW for Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) across the country, and 178 GW solely of offshore wind according to the World Bank.

“Power access is not determined by a switch but by how we empower communities to own and manage their energy systems, choose more sustainable energy resources not just for domestic use but for economic activities, and take part in the power transition. The only way for consumers and communities to win is with 100% RE,” added de Torres.