September 28, 2023
Climate Reality Philippines concluded the Mindanao leg of its REalTalk regional workshops on 21-24 September 2023 in Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental. The workshop, organized in partnership with AktivAsia Philippines and supported by the City Government of CDO and Greenergy Solar Philippines, produced 27 campaigners who developed campaign plans in support of GEOP in the region.
Pressing energy issues in Mindanao
Renewable energy, specifically hydroelectric power, had dominated the power generation in Mindanao until 2014. Coal and oil-based power plants have since seized the lead in the power mix up to the present.
“We lost renewable energy right before our eyes. In 2005, zero coal. By 2017, coal was 52 percent. Mindanao right now is 68 percent fossil fuels and 32 percent renewable energy,” said BenCyrus Ellorin of the City Government of CDO and the Mindanao Renewable Energy Acceleration and Coordination Hub (MinREACH).
This energy scenario confined end-users to fossil fuel-based energy, which generated issues on affordability and reliability. Expensive electricity rates and frequent power outages were cited as the most pressing energy issues in Mindanao.
Ellorin also linked energy issues with poverty incidence across the region. Energy-deficient communities, such as the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), struggled to provide accessible electricity for its constituents.
Advancing renewable energy in Mindanao through GEOP
“We want to support efforts to bring back renewable energy in the region. We believe that GEOP can be a vehicle for that goal. [The] GEOP allows entities to switch to renewable energy without capital costs,” said Ian Soqueño, Energy Campaign Lead of The Climate Reality Project Philippines.
The GEOP, created through the Renewable Energy Act, allows end-users with an average consumption of 100kW and above to choose renewable energy as their source of power. The mechanism aims to provide cheaper electricity rates and promote energy independence among consumers.
With GEOP set to launch in Mindanao in the coming months, REalTalk builds the momentum for renewable energy and GEOP in the region. The training produced seven regional campaigns aiming to engage and influence business entities and local government units to participate in the program.
Supporting GEOP is among the ways to increase renewable energy in the power mix of Mindanao. Higher demand for renewable energy from the public and private entities invites more energy players in the scene.
Engaging more energy players in the GEOP campaign
REalTalk Mindanao also had the opportunity to visit Greenergy Solar PH, based in CDO, where participants learned more about the relevance of renewable energy developments in empowering local communities. The company has been active in the promotion and development of renewable energy power generation in the Mindanao region since 2008.
The GEOP was seen to be a stepping stone for many entities to cut on power costs in order to generate savings, and eventually, be energy self-reliant through solar installation and other systems.