The launch coincides with the global day of action led by former US Vice President Al Gore, founder and chairperson of The Climate Reality Project, entitled “24 Hours of Reality: Let’s Get Real.” The goal of this global movement is to rally people around the world to demand the real policy change required to cut fossil fuel emissions and transition to a just clean-energy economy.
“For this year’s 24 Hours of Reality, we highlight the need for the country to maximize the benefits of a clean energy transition in the Philippines, which are cheaper electricity, more jobs, cleaner air, and more progressive communities, Nazrin Castro, Branch Manager of Climate Reality Philippines, said.
The Philippines has the highest electricity rates in Southeast Asia and the second highest in the whole of Asia mainly because of its excessive reliance on imported coal and diesel.
In the past year, the unreliability of the coal-fired power plants that dominate the Philippines’ energy mix has never been more pronounced. Despite the low power brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, Filipinos experienced rotating brownouts and spiking electricity prices.
By taking advantage of the systematic deflationary nature of renewable energy prices globally and capital market support and by pursuing policies that will correct outdated systems in its power sector, the Philippines has the opportunity to not only make power more affordable power to the Filipino people but also more secure and dependable.
“We have abundant sources of renewables in the country. Solar, wind, run-of-river hydro, geothermal, and biogas are viable domestic power generation options. What we need right now are policy changes that will eliminate the barriers of transitioning into more sustainable and affordable domestic solutions,” Castro said, noting that recent policy developments from the government are already addressing this need.
Castro was referring to the: (1) Department of Energy’s issuance of a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants and approval of 100% foreign ownership for large-scale geothermal power plan; (2) Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ issuance of the Sustainable Finance Framework; and (3) the Energy Regulatory Commission’s issuance of the rules governing the Green Energy Option Program (GEOP), which gives electricity end-users with an average monthly peak demand of 100kW or above the power to directly source their electricity from renewable energy sources.
“We need to sustain this growing momentum by helping more Filipinos understand that the clean energy transition affects the economic, health, and environmental aspects of their lives. If more people are aware, more will be on our side to demand decision-makers. This is the rationale behind the Murang Kuryente, Masiglang Pamayanan,” Castro said.
During its launch yesterday, the campaign urged Climate Reality Leaders and other climate advocates to amplify an initial social media campaign that communicates the need for rapid renewable energy development in the country and to reach out to electricity end-users with an average monthly peak demand of 100kW or above to source their electricity from renewable energy sources through GEOP.
In the coming months, Climate Reality Philippines will rollout energy literacy webinars and workshops for its roster of 1,200 Climate Reality Leaders to help them have a deeper understanding of the current Philippine energy landscape and the barriers to and opportunities for renewable energy development.
For more information about the campaign, visit https://climatereality.ph/murangkuryente/.