REalTalk Visayas activates five regional campaign plans in support of GEOP

Ormoc City—Energy campaigners from Visayas recognized the potential of the Green Energy Option Program (GEOP) as a mechanism for local government units and state universities in the region to substantially bring down electricity costs and increase capacity for other sustainable investments.

The Climate Reality Philippines completed the Visayas leg of REalTalk, held on 27-30 July 2023 in Ormoc City, Leyte, mobilizing 30 GEOP participants from the academe, local governments, and civil society organizations. The movement-building workshop on renewable energy is organized in partnership with AktivAsia Philippines, a non-profit organization that supports organizers and activists in Asia to win energy campaigns.

Climate Reality Leaders and energy advocates underwent REalTalk workshop to hone their leadership and campaign skills instrumental to cascading GEOP implementation in their respective areas.

REalTalk advances the movement for cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable energy access in the provinces by supporting entities to switch to  100% renewable energy through GEOP.

“GEOP disrupts the energy landscape that heavily relies on fossil fuels, as it allows entities to source 100% power from renewable energy. GEOP reduces generation charges for its users because generating power from renewable energy is significantly cheaper than from fossil fuels, resulting in savings on electricity costs,” Christian Soqueño, the RE Energize PH Campaign Lead of Climate Reality PH, said.

GEOP advances just renewable energy transition

In his 2023 State of the Nation Address, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. expressed that renewable energy is the way forward for the country’s energy sector. As a mechanism under the Renewable Energy Act, GEOP supports this pronouncement and the government’s goal to increase the share of renewable energy in the country’s power generation mix to 35% by 2030 and to 50% by 2040.
Visayas in-person REalTalk training facilitated a deep dive session on the Philippine power industry to demonstrate how GEOP is a game-changer in the current energy landscape.

The Climate Reality Philippines supports the implementation of GEOP across the country through REalTalk to empower and mobilize more campaigners who can champion the movement towards just renewable energy transition.

“We are considering GEOP as a mechanism to advance this movement. We need the public and private entities who perform bulk of industrial and economic operations, to make bigger steps in giving credence to renewable energy,” Nazrin Camille Castro, the Branch Manager of Climate Reality Philippines, emphasized.

Regional campaigners identified potential eligible GEOP end-users who could make the switch to renewable energy, as a means to address expensive electricity rates across the region.

Switching local government units and public state university through GEOP  

The Visayas leg of REalTalk workshop produced five (5) different campaign plans, each aiming to register four (4) local government units and one (1) state university in GEOP.
Regional campaigners developed key messages anchored on the motivational analysis tool and formulated strategies and tactics needed to convince their priority stakeholder to consider GEOP.

Reports of rotational power outages due to manual load dropping and system disturbances despite electricity rate surges remain in the region. Participants identified GEOP as a game changer that can help address soaring power costs and outages.

REalTalk Visayas had a site visit to the Tongonan Geothermal Power Plant in Ormoc City, Leyte. The participants learned about the history, installed capacity, serviceable area, and generation charges of the power plant.

Renewable energy, compared to imported fossil fuels, has cheaper generation charges because they are domestically abundant. Renewable energy suppliers participating in GEOP offer cheaper electricity prices compared to average generation charges set by distribution utilities.

Tongonan Geothermal Power Plant, registered as a renewable energy supplier under Green Core Geothermal Inc., revealed that their generation rates are at P4.00/kWh, which is significantly lower than the over P10.00 – P18.00/kWh charges from distribution utilities in the region, as shared by the participants.

The Tongonan Geothermal Power Plant is the largest wet steam field in the Philippines located within a 107,625-hectare reservation for forest area and power complex. The site boasts of negative carbon emission for harnessing power from geothermal energy, alongside its forest and wildlife protection initiatives.

REalTalk is a training program focused on raising energy literacy and building a movement on just transition to renewable energy. The last cohort is slated for September this year in Cagayan de Oro City.