December 14, 2022
The webinar was the first installment in this year’s “Pilipinas: Aspire, Rise, Sustain Series,” which is annually organized by the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD), The Climate Reality Project Philippines, and the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC). The first of the three-part series put the spotlight on GEOP as a tangible pathway for the private sector and eligible entities to transition to renewable energy and support low carbon and resilient development.
Created through Renewable Energy Act of 2008 (Republic Act No. 9513), the GEOP allows electricity end-users with an average peak demand of at least 100-kilowatt hours in the last 12 months to choose renewable energy in meeting their energy requirements. Since its launch in December last year, the GEOP now has 177 electricity end-users and 15 renewable energy suppliers as of October this year.
GEOP Success Stories
In the webinar, representatives from The Linden Suites, Vita Tropic Ice Company, and Converge ICT Solutions shared their experiences and gains as among the switchers through GEOP.
The Linden Suites, a hotel in Ortigas Center, was able to save PhP4.2 million since switching through GEOP in April this year, while for Vita Tropic, an ice manufacturing company in Malabon whose energy costs constitute 90% of their capital expenses, the savings are enough to consider business expansion. For Converge ICT Solutions, a broadband provider, they were able to save PhP17.2 million and reduce 5,036.210 TC02e greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) as of July this year since switching its main office in Pasig (in September 2021) and its data center in Clark (in January 2022) to renewable energy, under a similar program called Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA).
The Linden Suites General Manager Tet Romualdo said, “The pandemic has allowed us to reset our practices. It’s also high time to look into this matter [renewable energy]. We have seen the trend towards green practices in hotel and establishments that promotes sustainability, not only environmentally but also economically and culturally. It has now become the biggest consideration for travelers.”
David Co, Business Development Head of Vita Tropic, expressed, “Because we made the switch, we are saving so much [that] we might be able to save enough money for expansion. We are saving money by having electricity sourced from 100% RE. We are paving the way to reduce CO2 emissions and prevent global warming. We are helping the Philippines transition into a more sustainable future.”
Bryan Christopher King Kay, Vice President for Strategy and Sustainability of Converge ICT Solutions, stated, “The high energy demand in the ICT sector makes it a major source of global GHG. Thus, we declared greener and sustainable operations as part of our commitment. Moreover, with the rising prices of fuel and the government’s response to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels, investments in electric/hybrid vehicles are on the uptrend.” King Kay also shared their company’s RE (renewable energy) Transition Process and other net-zero projects, including switching current and future data centers and facilities to renewable energy through GEOP and RCOA.
Switching to GEOP
The Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (IEMOP) handles the application, switching, and approval process of the GEOP. The IEMOP’s Registration and Stakeholder Support Manager Engr. Katrina Garcia-Amuyot explained that renewable energy suppliers need to register with the Central Registration Body (CRB) before entering a supply contract with electricity end-users.
Engr. Garcia-Amuyot also noted that most of the GEOP switchers are from Luzon and come from the manufacturing and real estate industries, adding that the numbers are expected to increase as the Department of Energy (DOE) expands the GEOP market in Mindanao.
Potential GEOP switchers have the liberty to choose from the list of current renewable energy suppliers, which implement pricing based on the end-user’s consumption efficiency, according to Chloe Kayanan, the Power Marketing Manager of First Gen Corporation.
“There has been a marked increase in interest for RE. Ten years ago, people don’t care whether they get their power from renewable or non-renewable sources. But spurred by recent events, there has been more appreciation for the benefits of sourcing from RE. And because of the clamor, we [First Gen] were able to secure a lot of contracts as early as 2020.”
Ways Forward with GEOP
With the tremendous potential of the GEOP to lower energy costs and promote renewable energy in the country, The Climate Reality Project Philippines expressed its continued support to the implementation of the program by raising more awareness and influencing more eligible entities to make the switch.
The organization has partnered with Sustainarumble!, a group of sustainability practitioners, to reach out and survey business groups, industry associations, medium and large-scale companies, government agencies, and other entities to gauge their awareness and willingness to participate, and assess their needs to participate in the program.
Jonas Marie Dumdum and Christopher Klein Asinas, the Co-Creators of Sustainarumble! shared initial findings and recommendations, including promoting GEOP and its benefits in the language of electricity end-users.
While GEOP empowers businesses and entities to choose renewable energy, it also supports the achievement of the country’s goal to increase the share of renewable energy in our power generation mix to 35% by 2030 and 50% by 2040, as indicated in the Philippine Energy Plan (PEP).
Commenting on this bold goal of the Philippines, Phyllis Cuttino, the President and the Chief Executive Officer of The Climate Reality Project, said, “As a fast-developing economy with a rapidly growing population and a climate risk index among the highest in the world, the Philippines stands to benefit from utilizing and fully unlocking the potential of renewable energy resources. I recognize that the Green Energy Option Program is one key initiative to support this goal.”