Gatchalian pushes use of clean energy

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian generation amid a decrease in demand as SCREENGRAB FROM ZOOM / Manila Times

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian generation amid a decrease in demand as SCREENGRAB FROM ZOOM / Manila Times

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday pushed the use of renewable energy (RE), saying making the transition to clean fuel is the "dawn of a new tomorrow."

He also called for a whole-of-government approach in combating climate change.

Speaking at the forum hosted by The Manila Times dubbed "Propelling Renewable Energy against Climate Change," Gatchalian urged the government to maximize the potential of RE in the country.

"Now is the time to give renewable energy sources a boost as recent months have shown an increase in the generation of some power sources such as solar, geothermal and biomass," the chairman of the Senate Energy Committee said.

The senator backed the plan of the Department of Energy (DoE) to impose a moratorium on coal use. This, he said, should be accompanied by regulations encouraging the building of flexible systems such as energy storage.

He observed that the imposition of lockdown in the country saw a drop in coal generation amid a decrease in demand as operations of industrial facilities and commercial establishments slowed.

According to market research provider S&P Global, major oil companies are diversifying into renewable and low carbon energy in response to the growing concerns on climate change. The International Energy Agency forecasts the world's total renewable-based power capacity to increase by 50 percent between 2019 and 2024.

Gatchalian stressed the need to initiate energy transition by cutting red tape particularly for renewable energy projects. He said a mechanism that streamlines the release of permits for foreign and domestic investors is already in place.

"The whole world is moving to energy and mobility transition, so we need to keep up with the trend of generating power from renewable sources to include emerging technology such as green hydrogen," the senator said.

In a recent budget hearing at the Senate, DoE officials said as of December 2019, awarded renewable projects reached 1,038 with an equivalent potential capacity of 31,886 megawatts (MW).

Existing RE projects have an installed capacity of 5,053 MW with geothermal and hydro having the largest shares at 38 percent and 22 percent, respectively.

The senator also underscored the need to have a sound policy and regulatory framework for the use of electric vehicles, or EVs, as the country moves toward the promotion of sustainable transportation.

"Transition to new technologies will generate jobs, which we badly need right now, and attract investments for us to grow globally competitive. We are seeing bright prospects for renewable energy. It is the dawn of the new tomorrow," he said.

Gatchalian is the principal author of Senate Bill 1382 or the proposed "Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations Act," which requires dedicated parking slots with charging stations in every public and private building and establishments, including gasoline stations.

This article was originally published by Manila Times.