Climate Reality PH builds momentum for GEOP implementation in Mindanao

Cagayan de Oro City—Energy campaigners from Mindanao bank on the Green Energy Option Program (GEOP) to yield cheaper electricity costs and higher share of renewable energy in the region’s power mix.

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.

Energy advocates from the academe, business sector, and local government units underwent REalTalk training in preparation for the anticipated launch of GEOP in Mindanao.

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.

Participants identified the most pressing energy issues in the region to visualize their priorities in the movement towards just renewable energy transition in the region.

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. 

Climate Reality Leaders from Mindanao joined the REalTalk training as part of their campaign to advance renewable energy in the region.

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.

Regional groups worked on identifying the issues, writing the objectives, analyzing key stakeholders, exploring motivational analysis, and developing strategies and tactics to generate regional GEOP campaign plans.

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.

REalTalk in Mindanao concluded with a site visit in Greenergy Solar PH to understand how renewable energy sources could offer accessible, reliable, and affordable power for all.

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.