Malacañang sets pace for gov’t solar power and energy savings project

MANILA, Nov. 11 -- As Philippine officials prepare for the Paris summit on climate change, they will depart with an additional feather in the country’s mitigation program—the increasing use of solar energy and more efficient lighting systems in the nation’s seat of power.

The Climate Change Commission (CCC) and the PNOC Renewables Corporation (PNOC-RC) are jointly launching a project to install solar photovoltaic and energy efficient lighting systems in the Malacañang complex that will drastically reduce reliance on fossil fuels, according to CCC Commissioner Heherson T. Alvarez.

“The magnitude of this project, which aims to cover all government buildings in the capitol region at an estimated investment of over P3 billion pesos over the next few years, will be a significant component in helping achieve the 70 percent carbon emissions reduction goal in the Philippine Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) submission to the Paris summit of the UN Framework on Climate Change Convention,” Alvarez said.

The project is part of President Benigno Aquino’s strategy to broaden reliance on locally abundant resources of renewable energy in order to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and help the economy transition to climate-smart development,” Alvarez stressed, citing three 2013 CCC resolutions approved by President Aquino as Chair of the Commission.

The first is Resolution No. 5, regarding the development of green building standards; the second is No. 6, promoting alternative or green energy systems for off-grid communities, and No. 7, curtailing black carbon in the urban environment.

The project is also in line with Administrative Order 110 Series of 2004, directing the institutionalization of a government energy management program and mandating at least 10 percent reduction of monthly electricity consumption by all government entities.

PNOC-RC, a government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC), will completely undertake the project at no cost to Malacañang. It will recover its costs and profits from a net-metering lease arrangement based on an agreed rate per kilowatt hour.

Carlos Jose P. Gatmaitan, president and CEO of PNOC-RC, expressed confidence that the project will help facilitate a more conducive investment climate for more clean energy projects that our country is urgently in need of.

“For the Philippines, renewable energy comprised 44 percent of our energy sources in 1999. This percentage fell to 34 percent in 2008 and further declined to 26 percent in 2013.” Gatmaitan said, citing Dept. of Energy statistics.

PNOC-RC is the sole government agency tasked to develop solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and all other forms of renewable energy. (CCC)

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