DOE pitches ‘financing modalities’ for LGUs’ energy efficiency programs

The Department of Energy (DOE), along with multilateral partners like the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Union-Access to Sustainable Energy Programme (EU-ASEP), had pitched for financing tools that the local government units (LGUs) can access in advancing their mandated energy efficiency programs.

To further apprise local leaders on these financing modalities and tools, the department carried out a pre-session with at least 160 LGUs in Luzon last July 13, so they can be helped on their targeted compliance to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation (EE&C) Act under the propounded Government Energy Management Program (GEMP). The Luzon leg followed an earlier forum with Visayas and Mindanao LGU leaders.

The proposed financing modalities, according to the DOE, will unlock options on how LGUs can “fund energy efficiency projects and how (they) can access these platforms.”

Director Renante M. Sevilla of the DOE-Luzon Field Office, said “the LGUs’ active role, involvement and participation will propel the country’s quest to achieve energy security and independence amidst the many challenges affecting the local and global energy market.”

By embracing energy efficiency as part of the LGU’s core leadership paradigm and operations, they would be able to generate savings on their energy usage; and they can also help in the overall goal of reducing the country’s carbon intensity.

And by seriously practicing energy efficiency, investments for required power capacity additions could also be brought down – because “conserved energy” or the power that is not used is the ‘low hanging fruit’ that the Philippines can reap via the enforcement of the EE&C law.

Given that premise, Energy Undersecretary Jesus Cristino Posadas emphasized that the department is “developing policies and initiatives to help reduce electricity costs through efficiency and conversation programs, and progress towards economic recovery amidst the pandemic.”

EU Programme Manager Willy Hick further pointed out that “the challenge to the energy sector is how to contribute to the collective efforts to ‘Build Back Better’ in response to this pandemic.”

He thus noted that while the people hankers for a post-Covid life,” we all need to transition to a new normal that makes use of our finite energy resources in the most efficient and effective way and reinforcing the multiple co-benefits of energy efficiency.”

On having collaborators for the country’s EE& C initiatives, DOE Director Patrick Aquino asserted that the department “recognizes the mutual benefits of external partnerships as we are committed to inclusivity and to filling in the gaps through knowledge and capacity building.”

This article was originally published by Manila Bulletin.