Philippines increasingly embracing renewable energy


"Meet Asia. Meet Renewable Energy's Future" was the motto at this year's Thomas Lloyd Cleantech Congress Europe in Frankfurt, Germany. Organized by the investment banking and management group, the event — and co-hosted by the Philippines — the event clearly illustrated the high interest and the high need for increased investments in photovoltaic and other renewable energies in Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines.

More than 1,000 institutional investors, financial service providers, asset managers and representatives from government and industry attended the conference, which took place in the Messe Frankfurt exhibition center.

Speaking at the event, Philippine Senator Edgardo J. Angara stressed the importance of investment in renewable energy in reducing the island country's heavy dependence on fossil fuel imports and in their contribution to job creation. He also pointed to the rapidly increasing energy needs of the country and estimated the renewable energy potential of the Philippines to 150-250 GW.

Fellow Philippine Senator Senator Loren Legarda added that with the country's Renewable Energy Act and other regulations such as the feed-in tariff, net metering, a renewable portfolio standard and an exemption for the import of components for renewable energy systems as well as an active fight against corruption, the Philippines had the necessary legal framework for increased investment in photovoltaic and other renewable energies.

In an impassioned speech, Legarda, a former TV presenter and United Nations Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia – Pacific, described the existential significance of increased investments in renewable energy, particularly in countries affected by climate change such as the Philippines. If global warming continues as it has, Legarda stressed, the country will have to reckon with a catastrophic impact on a massive on economic growth, food security and public health. Rice harvests could decline by 75% by the end of the century, shrinking the gross national product by 3% and diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dengue fever could spread to epidemic proportions.

Now was the time to rigorously implement the measures already started for a climate-friendly energy supply in the Philippines, Legarda added.

The installed capacity of renewable energy is to be further developed from the current 5.4 GW to 15.6 GW in 2030, according to current government targets, including 350 MW of photovoltaics.

The Thomas Lloyd Group is a leader in investment in solar and other renewable energy sources in the Philippines, said Chairman and CEO T.U. Michael Sieg. In San Carlos, in the Philippine region of Negros Occidental, the investment group funded two solar parks with a total capacity of 22 MW, which are expected be completed by early summer. "A sustainable energy development in the Asia-Pacific region would not only be of crucial importance globally for current and future generations but also a form a basis for further growth in the region," Sieg added.

Addressing the conference via live satellite, former U.S. President Bill Clinton likewise called for increased investment in renewable energy in Southeast Asia and elsewhere. The reduction of dependency on fossil fuel imports, along with favorable political conditions and sharply lowered costs, especially for photovoltaics, is the major driver behind the necessary investment in renewable energy, Clinton stressed. Yet financing remained the biggest challenge in the region's adoption of clean energy, he added.

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