SUPPORTERS of green energy are urging the government to highlight renewables in its economic recovery plan, saying that such a measure will make the economy more resilient while generating jobs.
Ahead of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address, the Power for People (P4P) Coalition said stimulus measures in the pipeline must “build the Filipinos’ resilience against future ecological and economic crises” while mitigating the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic over the short term.
“We need a green stimulus program which at once provides livelihood and transitions our economies towards a sustainable future,” the group said in a statement over the weekend.
P4P reminded the President of previous policy statements boosting renewables development, which it touted as “key” to the recovery.
“Renewable energy development, especially in the form of microgrids, would provide clean and affordable electricity while creating job opportunities and offering solutions for 100% electrification, and is key to national recovery,” it said.
In March, when the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was declared a pandemic, the International Energy Agency told world leaders to make large-scale renewable energy investments the core of their governments’ pandemic responses as “it will bring the twin benefits of stimulating economies and accelerating clean energy transitions.”
Both the country’s solar and energy efficiency industries have sought to participate in the government’s post-pandemic stimulus plan.
The coalition also asked the government to expedite refunds to power users after many bills during the lockdown were disputed as too high, and to expand relief for power consumers due to the disruption to livelihoods caused by the pandemic.
In May, complaints mounted due to high electricity bills, leading legislators to probe the power industry and its regulators. Billing issues were blamed on the application of the advisories issued by the Department of Energy and the Energy Regulatory Commission during the quarantine period.
Power companies were unable to deploy meter readers during the quarantine, and they were allowed to bill according to estimated previous consumption. — Adam J. Ang