Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Senator Loren Legarda calls for more investments in renewable energy as part of a long-term solution to the growing power needs of the country.
Legarda cited the case of Mindanao which is currently faced with rotating brownouts due to deficit in electricity supply. Mindanao has been heavily dependent on hydropower for its electricity requirements, particularly from the Agus and Pulangui hydropower plants; however, she explained that such cannot be sustained in the face of the worsening deforestation of watersheds, the siltation of river systems, and aging power facilities.
“Mindanao has an agriculture-intensive economy. We need to be able to harness the agricultural wastes of Mindanao to fuel biomass facilities. Hydropower, geothermal, and biomass are undoubtedly cheaper than the diesel-fired power facilities. The generator sets and power barges that are being mobilized in the interim will not provide a sustainable solution to the power woes of Mindanao,” said Legarda, co-author and co-sponsor of the Renewable Energy Law.
“We must encourage more investments on renewable energy and we should also ensure proper management of our resources. For instance, we must ensure the promotion and development of Lake Lanao in a sustainable manner because the worsening deforestation of watersheds, including those located in Lake Lanao, and the siltation of river systems are among the reasons the power supply in Mindanao has become erratic,” she added.
In the 15th Congress, the Senator has proposed a measure establishing an effective policy and regulatory administration over Lake Lanao through the proposed Lake Lanao Development Authority. Legarda will file the same measure and push for its approval in the next Congress.
“The country's indigenous energy resources need to be developed to address its growing power needs. We have more than 200,000 megawatts of potential renewable energy capacity that remain untapped. Furthermore, the prices of renewable energy technologies are going down in the global market, thus there is a need to revisit the objections to RE which has obviously emerged as a viable and competitive alternative to coal- and diesel-fired power plants," Legarda said.
It is time that the government prioritize renewable energy development in our country,” Legarda concluded.
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