Energy Secretary Jericho L. Petilla has revealed his true bias against Renewable Energy by opposing solar power proposals in Mindanao. Petilla argued that RE projects take longer to build and may be more expensive in the long haul.
“For an Energy chief to say that solar-power plants are unsustainable and not readily available is totally false and baseless,” said Anna Abad, Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia. “It shows the Department of Energy’s complete bias against Renewable Energy. Rather than waste time and money on coal-powered plants to address the supposed power-crisis in Mindanao, Secretary Petilla should have a long term vision in mind, consistent with the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Plan that aims to accelerate development of RE in the country.”
Since the passage of the Renewable Energy Law in 2008, Greenpeace has been advocating for an Energy [R]evolution scenario for the Philippines, where a massive shift to Renewable Energy and energy efficiency measures would wean the country away from the rising costs of fossil fuels.
Five years since the law was enacted, coal fired power plants are still being approved, consequently edging out any opportunity for RE to be harnessed and mainstreamed. Greenpeace notes that of the 48 solar energy contracts currently up for review, the DOE has only awarded just one solar energy service contract for pre-development.
In January, Greenpeace released a report that illustrates how RE can generate more jobs and investments in the country. The Green is Gold report mapped out the country’s vast potential for Renewable Energy, in this case, how the Mindanao grid could be RE-powered by as much as 57.16% if measures are quickly implemented, rising to as much as 77.34% by 2020.
Greenpeace also debunked misconceptions that Renewable Energy is more expensive than coal. Abad said that the true cost of coal – which is not included in the accounting ledger or business cost model of coal proponents – are human illnesses, displaced communities, destroyed livelihoods, mining accidents, acid rain, smog pollution, water scarcity. This is where the government, as well as some independent power producers, have failed to grasp the economic realities of coal-fired power plants.
“Rather than succumb to fear mongering based on old, outdated information about Renewable Energy, it would do Secretary Petilla more good to update himself on the latest realities and technological improvements. He would then realize how solar energy is very much available and naturally abundant in Mindanao,” Abad said. “He shouldn’t go with dirty quick-fix solutions as his predecessors did. He should see the light and implement more RE projects, so that Mindanao will not be left in the dark.”
For more information please contact:
Anna Abad, Climate and Energy Campaigner, +639178573330,
Therese Salvador, Media Campaigner, +639178228734,
 Also cited in the Philippine Energy [R]evolution Roadmap Report, 2011